England sponsor Nike has finally backed down from its controversial decision not to sell replica goalkeeper Mary Earps’ World Cup shirt.
The sportswear maker had come under fire for refusing to sell the jersey worn by heroine Lionne Earps – as well as goalkeepers from the United States, France and the Netherlands – by fans, players and even the British government.
A petition against the ‘business decision’ not to stock goalkeeper kits has reached 150,000 signatures, while Earps, dubbed ‘Mary Queen of Stops’ after her penalty save in the World Cup final , is among the stars to have criticized Nike for failing to do so. SO.
But the company has now made an about-face, with a spokesperson saying Sports Mail that they had “obtained limited quantities of shirts for sale on federation websites in the coming days, and we are also in talks with our other federation partners”.
The fashion giant came under fire even before the tournament started when it became apparent that replica Earps shirts would not be available.
Mary Earps’ replica England goalkeeper jersey will now be available, Nike announced on Thursday.
Earps hit back at the company on Instagram after a statement from Nike was released
A petition has been started by an Earps fan in response to Nike’s refusal to sell her shirt
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Desperate fans even decided to make their own Earps shirts and the petition, started by a teenage fan of the Manchester United star, quickly gained traction.
The 30-year-old Lioness was hailed as an outstanding heroine in the World Cup final between England and Spain on Sunday, which went on to earn her the coveted Golden Glove, recognizing her as the best goalkeeper of the tournament.
Earps savagely attacked Nike after the company released a statement defending its decision amid the backlash.
Following Sunday’s final, which Spain won 1-0, Nike said:Nike is committed to women’s football and we’re thrilled with the passion around this year’s tournament and the incredible victory for the Lionesses to qualify for the final.
“We are proud to offer the best of Nike innovation and service to our Federation Partners and hundreds of athletes.
“We hear and understand the desire for a commercial version of a goalkeeper shirt and we are working on solutions for future tournaments, in partnership with FIFA and the federations.
“The fact that there is a conversation about this is a testament to the continued passion and energy around women’s football and we think that’s encouraging.”
But on Tuesday afternoon, Earps posted a screenshot of the statement to his Instagram Stories, adding the comment: “@Nike, is this your version of an apology/taking responsibility/powerful statement of ‘intention ?”
In a following post, Earps provided a link to the change.org petition launched in July.
Beth Mead, who missed the World Cup through injury, also criticized Nike. She told BBC Sport: “She’s the best in the world right now and she doesn’t have a jersey.
The Man United star won the Golden Glove at this year’s World Cup, despite England losing in the final to Spain.
Earps saved a penalty from Spain’s Jennifer Hermoso in Sunday’s World Cup final.
“She doesn’t have a shirt that young boys and girls can buy.”
In a sly dig at the fashion giant after Sunday’s final in Sydney, Australia, former England goalkeeper David Seaman tweeted: “I bet @Nike regrets not selling the #MaryEarps shirt now.”
Earps discovered that she was left out of promotional photos at the Lionesses’ World Cup kit launch in April and that her jersey would not be available.
The Man United keeper raised the issue with Nike and even offered to finance the production himself, but was told that would not be possible.
The England keeper, whose ‘f*** off’ roar after saving Jennifer Hermoso’s penalty became a highlight of the final, has slammed Nike’s ‘hugely hurtful’ decision not to stock replicas of her shirt so fans can buy it.
Nike sold replica goalkeeper kits for four men’s teams at the World Cup in November and December.
Adidas also didn’t offer replica goalkeeper shirts, but Hummel and Castore did for Denmark and Ireland respectively.