Petition demanding Nike sell Lioness Mary Earps’ goalkeeper shirt rakes in 42,000 signatures: FA boss says there is a ‘plan in place’ to resolve issue as England fans pile pressure on sponsor
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The FA has finally responded to the furore around Mary Earps’ goalkeeping shirt after a fan-led petition for Nike to produce the shirt hit 42,000 signatures.
Nike, which manufactures the the England kit, has been heavily criticised in recent months after it opted not to sell a replica shirt with Earps’ name and number, unlike other players.
Over summer 16-year-old Emmy Somauroo set up a petition demanding the sport giant make the shirt, garnering over 42,000 signatures.
Now, FA boss Mark Bullingham has waded into the issue and says a ‘plan is in place’ for the shirt to finally go into production, ITV reports.
In an interview with ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott, Bullingham said: ‘We are trying to do something about that and we will get to that issue after the tournament. We do have a plan to resolve that.
‘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.’
England fans have called upon Nike to produce a replica version of Mary Earps’ goalkeeper shirt
FA boss Mark Bullingham (pictured) has waded into the issue and says a ‘plan is in place’ for the shirt to finally go into production
England No 1 was noticeably absent from the sportswear giant’s post to celebrate the Lionesses’ historic success
Fans reacted in the comments, questioning why a replica goalkeeper shirt has yet to be produced
Mary Earps hit out at Nike’s ‘hugely hurtful’ decision not to put her goakeeper shirt on sale
Scott asked why the shirt hadn’t been produced yet, in spite of such popular demand.
Bullingham said: ‘Well there is a detailed discussion that we have had with them that we won’t go into here, but the key thing is that we have a plan to resolve it going forwards and we will be doing that.’
Prior to the World Cup tournament, Earps revealed that the sportswear giant had elected not to produce replicas of her goalkeeper’s shirt.
Fans were unable to buy Earps’ kit during last summer’s Euros but the United shot-stopper had been told the issue would be resolved ahead of the World Cup.
With the decision not to produce replicas said to be based on Nike’s commercial strategy, Earps offered to personally fund the production but was rebuffed.
Speaking before the tournament, the Manchester United goalkeeper admitted that the decision not produce goalkeeper kits was ‘hurtful’.
‘I can’t really sugarcoat this any way so I’m not going to try, it’s hugely disappointing and very hurtful,’ Earps said last month.
‘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.
‘Unfortunately it’s become very evident that is not possible and there’s not going to be an acceptable solution for the young kids out there. On a personal level it’s obviously hugely hurtful, considering the last 12 months especially.
‘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”.
Mary Earps was named the best female goalkeeper at the FIFA Best awards last year
Earps has received support from team-mates, pundits and even celebrities – as the likes of Mel B chimed with message for the sportswear giants.
‘I’m trying to contain it,’ said the Spice Girl. ‘It’s not good to say just because she’s a goalie, people are not going to want to buy her kit,’ she said on Friday’s episode of The Last Leg.
‘If you’re a fan of football, especially the Lionesses, you’ll want to buy that shirt. Somebody must have a vendetta against her.’ When it was pointed out that Jordan Pickford’s shirt is available to buy, she said: ‘Oh, don’t get me started.
‘That’s even more of a disgusting disgrace that you can’t buy her shirt. It’s bulls***.’
TV presenter Laura Woods was one of the stars to offer her support to the England keeper
TNT Sports’ leading presenter – Laura Woods – offered similar comments as she took to social media to support the England goalkeeper.
Woods tweeted: ‘Mary’s one of my favourite England players. I get it’s not just Nike that do this, but how mad a decision not to produce and sell England GK shirts when that goalkeeper is Mary Earps.
‘And while she’s the reigning FIFA Best GK. And a reigning European Champion. Find that v weird.’
Due to her shirt not being available, Earps has released her own range of tees titled MAE27, just so her fans could own something the represents the England stopper.
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