Nike admits it dropped the ball and releases ‘limited’ numbers of Earps’ replica shirts

August 24 – Nike have confirmed that they will sell England goalkeeper Mary Earps replica shirts in limited quantities after the lioness stopper spoke out against the lack of goalkeeper shirts on sale at the tournament.

The news breaks after Earps was left out of sportswear giants Nike’s social media post congratulating the Lionesses on their progression to the FIFA Womens World Cup Final after concern was raised regarding the absence of Earps’ replica kit on the Nike website.

England’s kit for the World Cup was manufactured by Nike who, despite the Lionesses’ achievements, chose not to offer the women’s goalkeeper kit, citing that it didn’t align with their business strategy.

In a statement, Nike said it had now “secured limited quantities of goalkeeper jerseys to be sold”.

Nike’s decision changed following the launch of a petition that received the support of more than 150,000 signatures.

Emmy, a 16-year-old fan, initiated the campaign advocating for a modification in this stance by the sportswear giant, and urging them to make the kit donned by Earps during this tournament available to the public.

The petition also references Adidas’ decision not to sell an goalkeeper shirts from the Women’s World Cup.

In the  post, Emmy argues: “We need to unite, and demand this decision is over turned. We need to show togetherness and support Mary and ask Nike to rethink their decision. Let’s make them see just how important our female goalkeepers are. How respected they are and how many young girls aspire to join them in the future.

“Any type of exclusion is unacceptable in this day and age and we need to show we will not stand for it.
“Mary and all female goalkeepers, we love and respect you. You are inspirational and we are behind you.”

Earps was told her kit was not sold last summer for England’s Euros triumph due to manufacturing issues and that the issue would not happen again. Despite the Lionesses’ success the World Cup tournament, a bitter taste had been left over Nike’s treatment of the best goalkeeper in women’s football for the second straight competition.

Earps was voted the world’s top goalkeeper at the FIFA Best awards last year and was the Golden Gloves winner at the just completed World Cup where she saved a penalty in the final against Spain.

She tried to resolve the issue, even offering to fund the shirts herself so fans would not be let down. But such has been Nike’s obdurate petulance that they even left the World’s number 1 keeper out of the promotional pictures when the Lionesses kit was launched in April

Replicas of Earps kit for Manchester United, who she plays for in the Women’s super league, sold out last season and was the club’s third best selling shirt.

“All my team-mates have ordered a lot of shirts for their friends and family,” said Earps. “On a personal level, it is hugely hurtful. There has been an incredible rise in goalkeeping participation. It’s a very scary message that’s being sent to goalkeepers worldwide that “you’re not important”.

“I can’t really sugar-coat this in any way, so I am not going to try. It is hugely disappointing and very hurtful.”

Nike are yet to announce when the replica shirts will become available, but fans can expect supplies to sell out extremely quickly upon release.

Contact the writer of this story, Harry Ewing, at moc.l1701322480labto1701322480ofdlr1701322480owedi1701322480sni@o1701322480fni1701322480