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Forest Green Rovers have become the first professional men’s team to hire a woman coach after the EFL League 2 side appointed Hannah Dingley as caretaker manager.

Forest Green, who were relegated from League 1 last season, fired manager Duncan Ferguson after just six months in charge on Tuesday.

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And chairman Dale Vince, a environmentalist who has made Forest Green a vegan club during his time as owner, has now made the ground-breaking move to place Dingley in charge of the men’s team ahead of the 2023-24 season.

“Hannah was the natural choice for us to be first team interim Head Coach — she’s done a fantastic job leading our Academy and is well aligned with the values of the club,” Vince said. “It’s perhaps telling for the men’s game that in making this appointment on merit, we’ll break new ground — and Hannah will be the first female Head Coach in English [men’s] football.”

Dingley joined Forest Green four years ago and has been operating as the only female Academy boss in the English game.

But she has now been handed the chance to take charge of the senior team while the search for a permanent appointment goes on — Dingley could yet be handed the job on a full-time basis.

“I’m really excited for this next step of my career,” Dingley said. “Pre-season has just begun and the full season kicks off very soon. It’s an exciting time in football. I am grateful for the opportunity to step up and lead such a progressive and forward-thinking club.”

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Forest Green hires first-ever EFL woman coach in Dingley