BREAKING NEWS: Arsenal have released a statement upon receiving criticism that their….

A 27-player women’s team photo went viral earlier this month due to a failure to include any players from non-white backgrounds.

The picture prompted a flurry of responses, with some querying the stark disparity in diversity between the men’s and women’s playing staff at Arsenal, and others noting how the squad failed to replicate the demographics of north London.

And Arsenal have now broken their silence on the squad photo.

In a statement published in the Athletic, the club said: “We acknowledge our current women’s first-team squad does not reflect the diversity that exists across the club and the communities we represent.

“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.

“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.

“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.”

The lack of diversity in the women’s game has been a topic of discussion in the past, with few non-white players in England’s triumphant European Championship squad back in 2021.

Indeed, as per the Athletic, non-white representation in the English women’s national team was at its height during the Noughties.

The highest percentage of non-white players in the squad for a major tournament was 28.6 per cent at the World Cup in 2007 when Hope Powell was the manager.

That number was more than halved by Euro 2022 at 13 per cent (three out of 23 players) while just 8.6 per cent (two out of the 23) at this summer’s World Cup were from non-white backgrounds

The England international, who was a key part of the Lionesses side that reached the final of the Women’s World Cup, was making her 100th appearance for City.

But it ended in disaster for the 30-year-old, who was shown a second yellow card for timewasting by the referee – after just 38 minutes.

The decision was taken after Greenwood lined up to take a free kick inside her own half, before briefly pausing to assess her options.

She then played the ball to centre-back partner Alanna Kennedy, but play was then stopped by the referee as City players looked across in confusion.

Much to the disbelief of everyone in the stadium, Greenwood was then shown a second yellow card and was forced to leave the pitch.

And fans took to X (Twitter) to reveal their disbelief at the decision.

One wrote: “Just seen the most ridiculous sending off in the WSL, as Alex Greenwood is shown a second yellow card for ‘timewasting’. Absolutely absurd.”

Another said: “What a ridiculous sending off – Alex Greenwood has played a pass and been done for time wasting.”

A third queried: “Why would Alex Greenwood be time wasting after 38 minutes?! Bizarre.”

Another added: “That red card for Alex Greenwood has to be the most ridiculous decision I have ever seen.”

And Arsenal legend Ian Wright also had his say.

He wrote: “Embarrassing. They keep telling us about laws of the game but where is common sense! Why would she be wasting time???”

Former Everton goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis, meanwhile, gave her view on the decision while on co-commentary for BBC Sport: “That is ridiculous. She wasn’t even trying to waste time.

“She stalls so her team-mates can have time to get up the pitch. It was a matter of seconds! A very poor decision from the referee in my opinion.”

City had earlier taken the lead through Chloe Kelly, with Gareth Taylor’s side holding on to their 1-0 advantage going into the half time interval.

Thoughts on the second yellow card awarded to Greenwood? Let us know in the comments.

Mia, who goes by the name GreenGirlBella on multiple social media platforms has over 350,000 followers on Instagram and over 1.2 million followers on TikTok.

Her popularity grew after she decided to attend Arsenal matches wearing body paint.

For the Gunners’ crucial 1-0 win over Manchester City last weekend, Mia was seen wearing a body paint Arsenal away kit.

However, Mia has revealed that she has faced criticism and backlash over her decision to wear body paint.

Speaking to Daily Star, she said: “This time, I’ve had a lot of backlash from on Twitter, which I haven’t had for the last like three times.

“Nobody says anything to my face. Like, I always get people asking for pictures, like families and stuff like that. It’s never an issue when I’m there.”

Mia continued: “I speak to the like, the police come over to me and they’re always like, Oh, you look amazing, or the stewards, you know, every single time that I’ve gone out. I think it’s mostly just the fact that people don’t know the difference between indecent exposure and people are looking at it and thinking, okay, there’s kids there.

“But in my brain, I’m like, I’m fully covered. Not even my nipples are showing, the only thing that you can see is a bit of underboob if you’re looking at me, like I’m an object that is to be looked at and sexualised that way.

“It’s just such a shame because obviously, you know, I stand there for four hours, and go and have a great time at the game, especially when we win. And then what I come home and I’ve just had so much abuse this time around.”

Mia also revealed that the backlash and negativity will not stop her.

She said: “I’m still gonna do it. I mean, the thing is, it’s my thing now, I think that it’s gonna happen. I will continue doing it. And people should always feel comfortable in their own body no matter what they look like.”

 

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