Fans of England’s Lionesses will be familiar with Shirt Gate: the frankly bizarre decision not to manufacture Mary Earps’ goalkeeper shirt.
Before and during the World Cup, Earps was pretty vocal about her disappointment that her friends, family and fans weren’t able to wear a shirt with her name on it, a privilege the rest of her teammates had.
A petition was launched in July asking fans to “stand in support of Mary Earps and all female goalkeepers around the world”. It got a ton of signatures—over 150,000, no less—but Nike were still pretty stubborn about their decision. But it would seem they’ve finally had a change of heart, having just agreed on a U-turn. But there’s a catch.
Earps’ shirt will be released – but only as a limited edition. Nike told i: “We’ve seen and share the unprecedented passion and interest in women’s football this year and remain committed to playing our part by offering the best products and services to athletes and fans. We invested more in this year’s WC than any other global tournament to date.
“Nike has secured limited quantities of goalkeeper jerseys for England, US, France, and the Netherlands to be sold through the Federation websites over the coming days, and we are also in conversations with our other Federation partners.
“We recognise that during the tournament we didn’t serve those fans who wished to show their passion and support to the squad’s goalkeepers. We are committed to retailing women’s goalkeeping jerseys for major tournaments in the future.”
Earps received the Golden Glove at the Women’s World Cup, an award she received for being the tournament’s top goalkeeper. Her shirt totally sold out on the Manchester United website last season.
More to follow.
Also published on Medium.