Petition over Nike decision not to sell England goalkeeper Mary Earps' shirt hits 33,000 signatures

Mary Earps after England's World Cup win over Nigeria.
Credit: PA
Mary Earps has been a key player for the Lionesses at the World Cup. Credit: PA

A teenage football fan has won the support of tens of thousands of people as she takes on the sportswear giant Nike over its decision not to sell replica shirts of the England women's goalkeeper.

Emmy Somauroo, 16, has set up a petition already signed by more than 32,000 people, calling on Nike to reconsider its decision not to produce a replica of Mary Earps' shirt, despite doing so for the men's national team.

Earps was one of the Lionesses' stars as they beat Nigeria on penalties to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand on Monday morning.

Emmy, from Desborough in Northamptonshire, said: "I want to show Mary the demand and appreciation that we have for her and all female goalkeepers."

She said she had been left "shocked and upset" that fans would not be able to show their support by buying the shirt.

Emmy Somauroo is a huge Mary Earps fan and treasures her signed photo of her. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Also supporting the cause is 17-year-old Millie Winslett, from Clacton in Essex, who has written to the sportswear giant to ask the company to think again.

“I heard that Nike had completely refused to produce the shirt," said Millie.

"And I thought I know that I'd like it. My sister would like it. And I was thinking, surely something can be done about it. They can't just outright refuse to do it.”

The Essex teenager decided to write a letter telling them exactly what she thought, saying: “Every child deserves the right to feel represented by their favourite player, a player that resembles them.

"You are a multi-billion pound company, even if you only sold one shirt, it would allow for one little girl to feel seen, and that is 100% worth it. We are meant to be moving forwards, not backwards.”

Earps has played a significant role in the World Cup so far, making crucial saves on the pitch, and inspiring fans off it, even before the last-16 win against Nigeria.

Millie Winslett felt she had to take action when she heard about Nike's decision. Credit: ITV News Anglia

In previous interviews the Lionesses keeper has commented on how few women there were playing football when she was growing up.

"I never envisioned it really as a career, but I think the beauty of now is that hopefully there's a lot more role models," she said.

Nike has yet to comment. 

Football finance expert Kieran Maguire says the decision not to produce the shirt could be a costly one for Nike - especially in terms of its reputation.

“As far as Nike is concerned, it's not worth their while putting on [low-volume production runs]," he explained. "But from a public relations point of view, it's absolutely appalling.”

Millie said the discussion over this shirt epitomised an even bigger issue of respecting the women who have made the game what it is and ensuring the young women they are inspiring feel represented.

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