Matildas fans get their wish after 'disrespectful' move in wake of Women's World Cup

The sporting giant has taken steps to address a glaring omission from the sale of women's goalkeeper jerseys.

Mackenzie Arnold, pictured here in action for the Matildas at the Women's World Cup.
Nike has begun talks with Football Australia to produce a Mackenzie Arnold Matildas goalkeeper jersey. Image: Getty

Nike has reportedly begun talks with Football Australia to produce a Matildas goalkeeper jersey for retail, after backlash from Aussie fans that they couldn't buy Mackenzie Arnold's. Controversy erupted during the Women's World Cup when fans realised they couldn't buy any of the female goalkeeper jerseys because Nike doesn't make them.

The sporting giant bowed to demand this week and announced that the goalkeeper jerseys of four countries will be produced for sale - but Arnold and Matildas fans missed out again. Nike said it would make the keeper jerseys of the England, USA, France and Netherlands teams, but there was no mention of the Matildas.

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After more uproar from Aussie fans, the situation has taken another twist. According to Isobel Cootes of Optus Sport, Nike have since begun talks with Football Australia to also produce a Matildas keeper jersey. Cootes said it was more likely that Nike would make a generic Matildas keeper jersey, rather than one specifically with Arnold's name.

Matildas fans have been crying out for a goalkeeper jersey

Arnold shot to national stardom in the Matildas' penalty shootout win against France in the quarter-finals, and demand for her jersey around the nation skyrocketed. But fans were left up in arms when they realised the keeper jersey wasn't available to purchase.

Angry Matildas fans signed a petition for Nike to backflip on their decision, while a similar situation occurred in England due to the popularity of their star No.1 Mary Earps, who won goalkeeper of the tournament honours after the World Cup final in Sydney. After a groundswell of calls for women's goalkeeper jerseys, Nike relented on Thursday.

"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," a statement from Nike read. "We invested more in this year's World Cup 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..."

Mary Earps had blasted 'hurtful' Nike snub

Speaking about the situation before the World Cup, Earps said: “Unfortunately, it has become very evident that is not possible and there is not going to be an acceptable solution for the young kids out there. On a personal level, it is hugely hurtful considering the last 12 months (after England won the European Championships) especially.

"There has been an incredible rise in goalkeeping participation. I think that it is a huge problem, and…a scary message that is being sent to goalkeepers worldwide that you’re not important.”

Mary Earps celebrates her award at the Women's World Cup.
Mary Earps (pictured) will have her jersey for sale after the Women's World Cup. (Photo by Daniela Porcelli/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Arnold later said: "It would be really cool to see kids – or anyone, really – with the goalkeeper jersey on. Especially seeing how well goalkeepers have done throughout this whole tournament.

"In terms of why they don't sell them, I'm not too sure. I haven't looked too much into it, to be honest – I've been more focused on the World Cup."

Football Australia responded to the furore after the France game, saying: "We recognise the importance of voicing opinions in support of our female athletes, and we are listening. The fact we are even having these conversations is testament to the progress in this game and for this team."

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