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Andy Burnham backs Manchester United star Mary Earps’ campaign for England Women’s ‘keeper kit equality

Mary Earps playing for England, courtesy Mary Earps/Twitter

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has called out Nike over its decision not to manufacture replica shirts for England goalkeeper Mary Earps.

The Manchester United keeper went public last week to reveal that Nike had decided not to produce her replica shirt for the Women’s World Cup, despite the fact she was named FIFA’s Best Women’s Goalkeeper in February.

Speaking to journalists ahead of England’s group opener against Haiti on Saturday, Earps said: “I can’t really sugar-coat this in any way, so I am not going to try. It is hugely disappointing and very hurtful.”

Earps added that she had been fighting “behind closed doors” to find a solution with Nike but so far, although England home and away kits are readily available to buy, replica women’s goalkeeper kits do not appear to be part of Nike’s commercial strategy – the sportswear giant is also not producing ‘keeper shirts for the competition for the United States and Australian teams, whose kits it also manufactures, although men’s keeper kits are widely available.

Now Burnham has put his political weight behind Earps’ campaign.

Speaking on the Northern Spin podcast, the keen football fan (albeit somewhat confusingly, given his job title, of Everton) said: “The Mayor of Greater Manchester is going to deliver a firm diktat to Nike, via the Northern Spin podcast, which is: ‘Nike, sort it out now.’”

He added: “They shouldn’t let the Women’s World Cup end before this is sorted out. Mary is a fantastic role model and ambassador for the women’s and girls’ game. She’s a brilliant character. I see her speak at events and she’s amazing.

“So many girls and young women in Greater Manchester will look up to her because of who she plays for. How on earth they can justify this decision, I have no idea. Nike, you just need to get it sorted and that’s the unanimous view of the Northern Spin podcast.”

The full interview with Burnham will be available on the July 27 episode of Northern Spin, which is co-hosted by journalists Chris Maguire and Michael Taylor, produced by What Media, and available on all major podcast platforms.

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