Spice girl Mel B brands Nike’s decision not to sell the Lionesses goalkeeper kit a ‘disgusting disgrace’ as backlash grows against sportswear firm
- England keeper Mary Earps has been ‘fighting behind closed doors’ since April
- Rest of team’s kit is available but plans to make Ms Earps’ jersey were scrapped
- Mel B has now called for ‘goal power’ – a play on the band’s ‘girl power’ motto
Many football fans have questioned Nike’s decision not to manufacture the Lionesses’ World Cup goalkeeper kit.
And now Spice Girl Mel B has waded into the row, calling the sportswear brand ‘disgusting’ for making the male goalkeeper shirt available to buy but not the women’s.
Lioness goalkeeper Mary Earps, 30, who was named the best goalkeeper by FIFA in February, has been ‘fighting behind closed doors’ since April to enable fans to buy her kit.
While the rest of the team’s kit is available to purchase, plans to produce Ms Earps’ jersey were scrapped.
Mel B has now called for ‘goal power’ – a play on the band’s ‘girl power’ motto – and said she feels ‘really angry’ about Nike’s decision.
Spice girl Mel B (pictured in Sydney last month) has branded Nike’s decision not to sell the Lionesses goalkeeper kit as ‘disgusting’
Lioness goalkeeper Mary Earps (pictured celebrating World Cup group game win against Denmark on July 28), 30, who was named the best goalkeeper by FIFA in February, has been ‘fighting behind closed doors’ since April to enable fans to buy her kit
‘I’m trying to contain it. 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***.
Mary Earps plays keeper for Manchester United and on the team’s official website, hers is the third best-selling shirt on their website and is sold out completely.
Ms Earps, who is England’s vice-captain, hit out at Nike earlier this month during a press conference in Brisbane.
She said: ‘I can’t sugar-coat this in any way, so I am not going to try – it is hugely disappointing and very hurtful.
‘I’ve been desperately trying to find a solution with the Football Association and Nike.
‘Unfortunately, it’s become very evident that it is not possible and there’s not going to be an acceptable solution for the young kids out there.’ The goalkeeper claimed she offered to fund the shirts herself but she was ultimately forced to produce her limited edition version.
Earps, a popular figure with fans, has warned that Nike’s decision sends out a ‘scary message’ that goalkeepers are not important
Ms Earps warned Nike’s decision sends out a ‘scary message’ that goalkeepers are not important – especially when replica shirts for Alessia Russo and Millie Bright can be purchased on its site.
Nike has made kit for the other Lionesses available with a Chloe Kelly World Cup women’s shirt being sold on the official England FA store for £139.
Ms Earps said: ‘So what you’re saying is that goalkeeping isn’t important but you can be a striker if you want.’
ITV Sports Pundit, Laura Woods, also tweeted her support: ‘Mary’s one of my favourite England players. I get it’s not just Nike that does 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.’ Nike said the decision not to sell Ms Earps’ goalkeeper kit had been made due to ‘commercial strategy’.