Beth Mead has defended herself over comments attributed to her in an interview with The Guardian in which she was quoted as saying the lack of diversity in the England Women squad was “a coincidence”.
Speaking after Friday night’s 4-0 friendly win over Japan in Spain, Mead told Sky Sports News that the article was “unfair” and not a “true reflection” of herself.
She said: “For me it was a tough one to take, it was unfair how it was written. My values and beliefs are completely different to what was written and it is not a true reflection of me as a person.
- Debutant Park scores in ruthless win as England thump Japan
- Download the Sky Sports App
“In terms of diversity in the game, I want to be there front and centre and helping with that. I know the FA are doing a lot for it. I actually said that in the interview, but that didn’t get put through on the interview, so unfortunately it made me look worse in that context.
Image: Mead was named Women's Euro 2022 Player of the Tournament
“Unfortunately, these things can happen in the media these days, but it’s not a true reflection of me. I hope people understand that. Sometimes, don’t believe everything you read.”
- Papers: Sancho’s timekeeping was an issue for England backroom staff
- PL Predictions: Newcastle to thump Chelsea
- New Zealand beat 14-player England in epic Rugby World Cup final
- Recap: New Zealand edge 14-player England in dramatic Rugby World Cup final
- World Cup 2022 schedule, teams and draw
- Every World Cup 2022 squad listed
- Magnussen takes shock maiden pole in Sao Paulo after Russell spins in rain
- Transfer Centre LIVE! ‘Man Utd will consider offers for Maguire next summer’
- Magnussen vows to ‘have some fun’ in Sprint after dream pole for Haas
- Mead responds to ‘unfair’ article: ‘It’s not a true reflection of me’
Asked what the consequences have been since the article was published, she responded: “I guess it has brought the issue to light even more. I know it’s not great the way in which it’s happened but hopefully it can help push in the right direction.
“There’s a long, long way to go but the FA are doing a lot and people need to get on board with that and try and help that process as best as we can, myself and the team included.”
Wiegman calls for more diversity in football
England head coach Sarina Wiegman says she would love to see more diversity in the game, and believes the FA is taking steps to address this issue
Speaking before the victory over Japan, England Women manager Sarina Wiegman said more must be done to increase diversity in football – and believes the Football Association is tackling the issue.
The FA’s second annual report on the Football Leadership Diversity Code showed English clubs are failing to meet some of its pledged targets while just three of the 23 members of Wiegman’s Euro 2022 winning squad were from Black, Asian or mixed heritage backgrounds.
The level of ethnic minority representation in the Women’s Super League and England Women team has been a considerable talking point in recent years.
Asked by Sky Sports’ Anton Toloui if there is a diversity problem in English football, Wiegman said: “That’s a good question. I would love to see more Black players in the team, I think that’s what your pointing on.
“With the senior squad I pick the best players, who are the best to perform, but I do think we need to do more and we are doing more. The FA is doing more to give access to anyone who wants to play football.
“We know the team has shared this letter for girls in football that every girl has access to football, that also counts for every boy, whatever skin colour you have, needs to have access to football, in England, in Europe, in the world. We really have to work on that.”
Image: Only three of the 23 members of England's Euro 2022 winning squad were from Black, Asian or mixed heritage backgrounds
The FA announced plans in May to grow the existing talent programme for the women’s game, providing a wider and more diverse talent pool, with the number of players set to more than double by the end of 2023-24.
There is to be a wider national network of what will be called Emerging Talent Centres for girls aged eight to 16, with funding provided by the Premier League. That announcement followed the launch last year of the ‘Discover My Talent’ project.
Wiegman believes her inspirational squad can continue pushing for change with them set to speak to the Government later this month.
“The players have a voice,” she said. “It starts with performing, when you keep performing you will be visible and then you have a voice.
“We have so many powerful players and personalities in our team, and they’re using their voice to address these things. These little girls and boys see them playing football and think, ‘I can achieve that too’. That’s really nice to be part of.”
Win £250,000 with Super 6!
Another Saturday, another chance to win £250,000 for free. Entries by 3pm Saturday, good luck!