Football fans have expressed outrage at Nike following an ill-thought out post celebrating the England Lionesses – as the brand continues to refuse to sell goalkeeper Mary Earps’ kit.
Since the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup kicked off last month, fans have been dismayed that England’s shirt supplier is not selling Mary Earps’ kit, despite making home and away kits for every other Lioness player available to buy.
Star player Earps, who plays in goal for Manchester United at club level, was named the world’s best women’s goalkeeper at last year’s Best FIFA Football Awards and won Women’s Super League Golden Glove for the most clean sheets kept during the season.
Her abilities keeping the ball out of the net have also seen England concede just three goals during the course of the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
On Tuesday (16 August), Nike shared a post on X – formerly known as Twitter – celebrating England stars Lauren Hemp, Ella Toone and Lucy Bronze following the squad’s 3 – 1 semi-final win over Australia’s Matildas.
Fans were quick to lambast the brand’s post as disingenuous support, given the fact it is not selling the entire team’s kits.
“They refuse to make the goalkeeper replica shirts but post this. Revolting hypocrites. We see you,” one social media user said.
“Don’t pretend to start supporting them now they’re in the final. If you did, you would’ve made the damn shirt,” another fan weighed in.
“When are the Mary Earps shirts being released… my daughter is a goalkeeper and it’s the only shirt she wants,” one parent responded.
“Awkward for @nikefootball who decided not to print a shirt for goalie Mary Earps as the Lionesses head into the first England […] World Cup final since 1966,” another fan commented.
On Thursday (18 August), FA boss Mark Bullingham told ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott the organisation has “a plan in place to resolve” the dispute over Earps’ shirt.
“I will say that Nike have been a great partner in supporting us in everyway out here and we can see how we have a tremendous opportunity to grow women’s goalkeeping and I’m sure they will be a part of that going forwards,” he said.
In July, Earps told reporters that captain Millie Bright wanted to buy Earp’s kit for her niece but was disappointed to find it was not available for purchase.
“I can’t really sugar-coat this in any way, so I am not going to try,” Earps told journalists before England’s opening game against Haiti, “It is hugely disappointing and very hurtful.
“My shirt on the Manchester United website was sold out last season. It was the third-best-selling shirt, so who says it is not selling?”
She continued: “It is the young kids I am most concerned about. They are going to say, Mum, Dad, can I have a Mary Earps shirt?’ and they say, ‘I can’t, but I can get you an Alessia Russo 23 or a Rachel Daly 9.’
“What you are saying is that goalkeeping isn’t important, but you can be a striker if you want.”
A petition to get a Earps’ kit made, set up by 16-year-old Emmy Somauroo, has amassed more than 40,000 signatures.
England’s Lionesses are set to take on Spain in their first ever Women’s World Cup final on Sunday (20 August) in Australia from 11am BST (8pm local time).
The match will be available to watch in the UK on BBC One, ITV, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport Online.
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