The openly gay coach of the women’s England football team has been sacked following bad results at the Euro 2013 competition, despite becoming known for drastically raising the profile of England women’s football.
46-year-old Powell took over the England set-up in 1998, and was commended for expanding one senior team with just one under-18 squad to five national teams below senior level.
She was one of the key players in the creation of a nationwide structure of girls’ Centres of Excellence, and for her influential voice in the formation of semi-professional Women’s Super League in 2011.
Ms Powell’s journey came to an end last week, however, as the Euro 2013 results came in with England ranking seventh in the world, before a post finals drop to 11th. The team finished with only one point.
Of her departure, FA general secretary Alex Horne, said: “Hope deserves a lot of credit for her commitment to developing the national teams over such a long period. [But] after the disappointment of the tournament in Sweden, the Club England Board believe the time is right to make a change and for a fresh outlook. We will now look to recruit a new head coach and a technical lead for women’s football who will report to [FA director of elite development] Dan Ashworth.”
Since the coach was dismissed, England women’s captain Casey Stoney described her nature as “ruthless”, saying: ”Hope was not afraid to make decisions that upset people.”
As the World Cup qualifiers begin in September, the FA may make an interim appointment., Some have speculated that Women’s Under-19 coah Mo Marley may step up to the position.
Ms Powell was very private about her sexuality, but speaking to DIVA in October 2005 she said: “There’s always been that stereotyping of female footballers as butch, dykey and unattractive, so maybe it’s just best left alone.” She refused to be drawn into any further debate about lesbians in the game.