Mel B speaks out in support of Mary Earps over ‘disgusting’ World Cup kit controversy SuperNayr

Mel B has chimed in on a contentious subject that has emerged amid the Women’s World Cup.

Co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, the Fifa Women’s World Cup 2023 began on 20 July.

After triumphing at the Euros last year, the Lionesses have won both their games so far, beating Haiti and Denmark 1-0.

Nike sparked outrage among many fans after it emerged that the brand would not be selling Mary Earps’ England goalkeeper jersey. Nike is the national team’s kit supplier.

Earps, 30, called out Nike herself during a press conference in Brisbane. She said that it is “very hurtful” and “hugely disappointing” that fans would not be able to purchase her kit. Nike similarly did not sell Earps’ shirt during the Euros last year.

According to Metro, Nike said the decision had been made due to “commercial strategy”.

The controversy became a talking point on Friday’s episode (28 July) of The Last Leg.

Host Adam Hills explained: “Nike has decided that no one buys the goalkeeper kit, so it’s not worth making one for the World Cup, but Mary Earps is the best goalie in the world. Kids are being denied the chance to wear Mary Earps’ shirt – her own fans.”

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Appearing as a guest on the episode, Mel B – real name Melanie Janine Brown – spoke up, adding: “It’s terrible. It’s not good.”

Asked how the topic made her feel, the 48-year-old replied: “Really angry. I’m trying to contain it. It’s not good, just because she’s a goalie to say that people are not gonna wanna buy her kit. If you’re a fan of football, especially the Lionesses, you’ll wanna buy that shirt.”

The former Spice Girl quipped: “It should be goal power,” in a reference to the band’s motto: “Girl power.”

Co-host Alex Brooker also chimed in to remind viewers of the hypocrisy that fans can “easily” buy the England men’s goalie jersey. Brooker said he owns a replica of Jordan Pickford’s shirt.

“Oh, don’t get me started!” said Mel B in response. “That’s even more of a disgusting disgrace that you can’t buy her shirt. It’s bulls***.”

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Hill continued: “If you look at the women’s Super League clubs, right, Chelsea, Man City, Aston Villa, Liverpool, all sell the women’s goalkeeper kits. As do Manchester United, and Mary Earps is their keeper!

“In fact, it was the third best-selling shirt on their website and it sold out completely!”

He also informed audiences that in Australia, the women’s team has “sold more official kits ahead of the World Cup than the men’s team managed during and since the tournament last year”.

Looking unimpressed, Mel B added: “‘Somebody must have a vendetta against her or something, because that’s not right.”

Sports pundit Laura Woods – who covers the Women’s World Cup for ITV – also spoke out in support of Earps.

Everton keeper Jordan Pickford found himself in Roy Keane’s firing line after Sunday’s 3-0 Premier League defeat by Manchester City (Mike Egerton/PA)

(PA Wire)

Woods tweeted: “Mary’s one of my favourite England players. I get it’s not just Nike that do 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.”

Speaking out on the subject, Earps said that the shirt issue is “something that I’ve been fighting behind closed doors”.

“I’ve been desperately trying to find a solution with the FA and with Nike,” she said. “Unfortunately, it’s become very evident that is not possible and there’s not going to be an acceptable solution for the young kids out there.

“On a personal level, it’s obviously hugely hurtful, considering the last 12 months, especially.”

Earps continued: “‘For my own family, friends and loved ones not to be able to buy my shirt, they’re just going to come out and wear normal clothes.

“All my teammates, they’ve ordered a lot of shirts for their friends and family, they’re talking at the dinner table, ‘I wasn’t able to get this’, and I’m saying, ‘I wasn’t able to get it at all.’”

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