Arsenal star Beth Mead 'disgusted' by controversial decision to axe women's teams

Beth Mead
-Credit: (Image: Alex Burstow/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal and England forward Beth Mead has been left "disgusted" by a football club's controversial decision to axe all of its women's teams, leaving more than 100 female players without a club.

The grassroots football community is in uproar after Thornaby FC in Teesside opted to abolish its entire female section following a majority vote by its committee. The decision was reportedly taken because of "very low" staffing levels that "left the day-to-day running of the club in doubt".

In a statement on X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday evening, a spokesperson for Thornaby FC Women said: "Yesterday we found out that a majority on the Thornaby FC committee voted to remove the entire female section from the club."

The decision means that six women's teams, ranging from Under-7s to the club's senior team are set to be scrapped next season. In a statement on Facebook, Chairman Gary Morris said: "In light of the recent actions taken by the board of Thornaby FC of which I am Chairman, I would like to take this opportunity to clarify my thoughts at an extremely difficult time for the club and more importantly, the female players affected by these actions.

"The decision to withdraw support for the women’s team is one that I do not agree with, and along with another member of the committee, voted against it at yesterday’s emergency meeting. I have made my feelings known to the board, have asked them to reconsider their decision and also to consider their positions on the board as patrons and trustees of the football club.

"We are empowered by the fans of the club to make the right decisions for the future of the club, and all those who show their unwavering support to both the male and female teams of all age groups deserve better. I firmly believe this decision made yesterday does not do that and will be making this clear to the remaining members of the board."

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Several high-profile figures have responded to the news, with Mead taking to social media to voice her frustrations. "Disgusted to see this decision, the women’s game is on the up but we still have committees making these horrible decisions," she said. "It’s not good enough, these young girls deserve better. I’d love to send the team a signed England shirt to keep them inspired."

Tottenham Hotspur forward Bethany England has also spoken out on the decision, writing: "Saddened and disgusted to be reading this. The fight for women to keep their place at the table is a never ending battle. This should not be happening, these women and girls deserve better! My thoughts go out to everyone involved at the club, players, staff and volunteers.

Aston Villa defender Maz Pacheco said: "This has blown my mind... How can you just remove a whole women’s and girls section of your club???" has attempted to contact the club's committee for further comment.