Fans of the Lionesses will still not be able to buy a replica of Mary Earps’ goalkeeper kit despite an ongoing campaign throughout the Women’s World Cup to convince kit suppliers Nike to put one on sale.
Nike decided last month that it wouldn’t be making Earps’ goalkeeper kit available to purchase and the decision drew criticism from fans, celebrities, and even Earps herself who called the decision ‘hugely hurtful’.
A petition was launched to persuade Nike into a U-turn and that momentum was boosted by England’s No. 1 during yesterday’s World Cup final as she saved a penalty before keeping England in a contest they ultimately lost 1-0.
Earps was rewarded for her tournament performances with the World Cup Golden Glove award, the latest accolade added to her growing collection following the Best Fifa Women’s Goalkeeper award last year.
Nike issued an update on their decision after fresh calls to produce Earps’ England shirt came flooding in following the 30-year-old’s incredible performance in the World Cup showpiece.
In their statement released on Sunday, Nike promised to address the matter in ‘future tournaments’.
It read: “Nike is committed to women’s football and we’re excited by the passion around this year’s tournament and the incredible win by the Lionesses to make it into the final.
“We are proudly offering the best of Nike innovation and services to our federation partners and hundreds of athletes.
“We hear and understand the desire for a retail version of a goalkeeper jersey and we are working towards solutions for future tournaments, in partnership with Fifa and the federations.
“The fact that there’s a conversation on this topic is testament to the continued passion and energy around the women’s game and we believe that’s encouraging.”
Speaking about Nike’s initial decision last month Earps was doing all she could to get them to change their minds saying: “I can’t really sugarcoat this any way so I’m not going to try, it’s hugely disappointing and very hurtful.
“For my own family, friends and loved ones not to be able to buy my shirt, they’re just going to come out and wear normal clothes. All my team-mates, they’ve ordered a lot of shirts for their friends and family, they’re talking at the dinner table “I wasn’t able to get this” and I’m saying “I wasn’t able to get it at all”.
“I know there’s a lot of people who have spent a tremendous amount of money on outfield shirts and then put ‘1 Earps’ on the back, which doesn’t sit well with me either.
“It’s a very scary message that’s being sent to goalkeepers worldwide that “you’re not important”. It’s something that I’ve been fighting behind closed doors. I’ve been desperately trying to find a solution with the FA and with Nike.”
FA Chief Mark Bullingham also had his say on the controversy earlier this week and claimed that the governing body had plans to find a positive resolution for all involved. He said:
“Mary is incredibly passionate about growing goalkeeping, as are we.
“We’ve got several schemes to get the next generation of goalkeepers coming through. We have got a plan for addressing that issue and it’s something we’ll get to after the tournament.”
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