Leicester City: Willie Kirk sacked after allegation of relationship with player (2024)

Leicester City have sacked manager Willie Kirk following an investigation into an allegation he had a relationship with a player.

Kirk, 45, was suspended by the Women's Super League club earlier this month to "assist with an internal process".

The Scottish boss has not been on the touchline for the past three games.

"Willie was determined to have breached the team's code of conduct to a degree that makes his position untenable," Leicester said in a statement.

A complaint was lodged with the club about an alleged current relationship between Kirk and a player.

BBC Sport has approached Kirk for comment regarding the allegation.

Following Kirk's suspension, assistant manager Jennifer Foster and first-team coach Stephen Kirby took charge for the Women's FA Cup quarter-final at Liverpool on 9 March.

The Foxes won 2-0 to reach the last four of the competition for the first time.

Leicester have lost the two matches they have played since, being beaten by Tottenham and Brighton in the WSL.

Foster and Kirby will continue to lead the team while Leicester search for a new permanent manager.

Former Everton manager Kirk joined the WSL club in the summer of 2022, initially as a director of football before succeeding Lydia Bedford as boss that November.

Last season he guided Leicester from the bottom of the WSL to safety and they were seventh in the table this season when he was suspended.

Leicester said the code of conduct which they found Kirk to have breached was "established and implemented" before the 2023-24 season.

"The code forms part of the club's ongoing commitment to professionalising the women's game since the takeover of LCFC Women in 2020, promoting a performance-led culture among players, coaches and technical staff," Leicester added.

Their decision, announced on Thursday, comes amid scrutiny and recent condemnation of player-coach relationships in women's football.

In February, former Leicester manager Jonathan Morgan was sacked by Sheffield United after "new information came to light about his conduct" before he joined the club.

Morgan's former management agency ended their relationship with him and said in a statement it had "learnt new information regarding Jonathan Morgan and a relationship with a player".

Player-coach relationships are not illegal - as long as no minors are involved - albeit they can breach codes of conduct.

Codes of conduct among players and managers are a condition of clubs getting a WSL licence, and every club must have a safeguarding officer in place.

Personal relationships between players and coaches in women's football have been criticised for potentially creating a power imbalance in a squad.

England manager Sarina Wiegman has described them as "very inappropriate" and "not healthy".

Several WSL managers - including Aston Villa's Carla Ward and Tottenham boss Robert Vilahamn - said player-coach relationships crossed a line.

Speaking before Kirk's sacking, Ward said she thought a relationship between a manager and a player should "100%" lead to the team boss being dismissed.

Football Association director of women's football Baroness Campbell said in 2018 that she regarded player-coach personal relationships as "a concern".

Relationship matters contributed to Mark Sampson's sacking as England manager in 2017. He lost his job after what the FA described as "inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour" with players in a previous role at Bristol Academy.

Same-sex player relationships are common in the game, where the WSL only turned professional in 2018.

Leicester City: Willie Kirk sacked after allegation of relationship with player (2024)


Leicester City: Willie Kirk sacked after allegation of relationship with player? ›

Kirk was initially suspended to "assist with an internal process" after a complaint was lodged with the club about an alleged current relationship between the Scot and a player. He missed three games before being sacked after the conclusion of an investigation.

What happened to Willie Kirk? ›

WILLIE KIRK says he “hasn't committed a crime" after being sacked by Leicester City for sleeping with a player. The Foxes axed the Scot as boss of the Women's Super League side six weeks ago after he was initially suspended for the relationship.

Who did Nigel Pearson call an ostrich? ›

' After Leicester's loss to Chelsea Nigel Pearson became embroiled in an argument with reporter Ian Baker, ending in the manager storming out having called Baker an ostrich.

Who is the manager of the Leicester City women's team? ›

"First-team responsibilities for LCFC Women will continue to be led by Jennifer Foster, supported by Stephen Kirby, while the club begins the process of appointing a new permanent manager." Kirk initially joined Leicester as director of football before being appointed manager in November 2022.

Will Leicester be deducted points? ›

Leicester City avoids EFL points deduction this season after appeal - Sport Industry Group.

Did Leicester sack Willie Kirk over alleged relationship with player? ›

Willie Kirk says he regrets his decision to have a relationship with a player that led to his dismissal as Leicester manager. The 45-year-old was sacked by the Women's Super League club in March after an internal investigation.

Why has Willie Kirk been suspended? ›

Kirk was initially suspended to "assist with an internal process" after a complaint was lodged with the club about an alleged current relationship between the Scot and a player. He missed three games before being sacked after the conclusion of an investigation.

Why is it called ostrich? ›

The word ostrich ultimately comes from the Greek word strouthion, which comes from the Greek expression for “big sparrow.” That's right, it seems the Greeks thought the ostrich was just a really big, weird sparrow.

Who sits on the ostrich eggs? ›

The eggs are incubated by the females by day and by the males by night. This uses the coloration of the two sexes to escape detection of the nest, as the drab female blends in with the sand, while the black male is nearly undetectable in the night.

What is the name of the ostrich like bird in Argentina? ›

Rhea americana

The largest South American bird, rheas are flightless and resemble ostriches.

Which Leicester coach is dating a player? ›

Willie Kirk takes a deep breath before explaining how he became involved in a relationship with one of his players while he was manager of Leicester City. It has been six weeks since Kirk was sacked by the club after the relationship, which he is still in, was discovered.

Who was the manager of Leicester City that won the Premier League? ›

Claudio Ranieri Grande Ufficiale OMRI (Italian: [ˈklaudjo raˈnjeːri, -ˈnjɛː-]; born 20 October 1951) is an Italian former professional football manager and former player. He is known for winning the 2015–16 Premier League with Leicester City, one of the greatest sporting shocks in history.

Who is Leicester City under 18 manager? ›

Adam Barradell

Why hasn't Man City been punished? ›

Why have Man City not faced punishment? Logistically, the City case is a lot more time-consuming and it will take far longer to reach a punishment verdict, the Premier League have argued.

What is the biggest points deduction in football? ›

Luton Town | 30 points | 2008-09.

What is the Leicester City financial penalty? ›

Leicester, who also had a transfer embargo imposed on them by the EFL after the Premier League charged them for financial breaches, reported a loss of £89.7m for the 2022-23 season. It took their total losses for their last three Premier League campaigns to over £215m.

Who discovered the ostrich? ›

The genus Struthio was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758.

What is the name of the black ostrich? ›

South African “Black” Ostrich (Struthio Camelus Australis)

The South African Ostrich, scientifically known as Struthio camelus australis, is a species found in South Africa. It is smaller in size and stature in comparison to the Common Ostrich and has distinct black legs and neck.

Why is the ostrich called the camel bird? ›

As its species name, camelus, suggests, the ostrich was once known as the “camel bird” because of its long neck, prominent eyes, and sweeping eyelashes, as well as its jolting walk. Also, like camels, the ostrich can tolerate high temperatures and go without water for long periods of time.


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