BBC, October 23, 2023
Arsenal say it is a “key priority” to increase diversity after criticism of an all-white women’s squad photo.
The photo, posted on Arsenal’s social media earlier this month, included 27 players and head coach Jonas Eidevall.
Fans criticised the club for having no black or ethnic minority players.
“We acknowledge our current women’s first-team squad does not reflect the diversity that exists across the club and the communities we represent,” Arsenal said in a statement.
“Across all our teams, including our men’s and women’s academies, we’re proud of our players from diverse backgrounds who have contributed to our history, success and culture.”
Earlier this year, a review into women’s football – chaired by former Lioness Karen Carney – identified the need to create greater diversity on and off the pitch.
Ex-Brighton defender Fern Whelan said in the report that the lack of diversity across the women’s game needed to be “urgently addressed”.
England’s Euro 2022-winning team had three mixed-heritage players – Jess Carter, Nikita Parris and Demi Stokes – but none were part of the largely unchanged starting 11.
Carter and Lauren James started regularly for Sarina Wiegman’s side in this summer’s Women’s World Cup as England finished runners-up to Spain, but they were the only ethnic minority players in the squad of 23.
In 2021 it was estimated that the proportion of black, Asian and minority players in the Women’s Super League was between 10 and 15%.
Arsenal’s statement added: “Increasing participation among young women and girls from diverse backgrounds is a key priority for us at academy level, with specific measures in place to improve pathways and accessibility.”It’s a priority for the club to continue to drive greater diversity and inclusion and create a sense of belonging for everyone connected to the club.”