England women discuss ditching white shorts due to period concerns

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Chloe Kelly of England shoots whilst under pressure from Sarah Puntigam of Austria - GETTY IMAGES
Chloe Kelly of England shoots whilst under pressure from Sarah Puntigam of Austria - GETTY IMAGES

England women are looking into the possibility of wearing different coloured shorts due to concerns about having to wear white while on their periods.

Such are the players’ anxieties about having to wear white while menstruating that they have discussed the issue with the FA’s official kit manufacturer, Nike, about a potential colour switch.

Beth Mead, who scored the only goal in England’s 1-0 victory in their Euros opener against Austria on Wednesday night, confirmed that the team have held discussions with the sportswear giant.

“It’s something we’ve fed back to Nike,” said Beth Mead. “Hopefully they’re going to change that [the colour]. It’s very nice to have an all-white kit but sometimes it’s not practical when it’s the time of the month. We deal with it as best we can. We’ve discussed it as a team and we’ve fed that back to Nike.”

The issue of elite sports women wearing white has come into sharp focus recently at Wimbledon, where players have to abide by the All England Club’s strict dress code.

British doubles player Alicia Barnett, who knocked out Venus Williams and Jamie Murray in the second round last week, opened up about the stress of having to wear white while being on her period and suggested it was time to change. “I do think some traditions could be changed,” she said. “I, for one, am a massive advocate for women's rights and I think having this discussion is just amazing, that people are now talking about it.”

When pressed on what the potential colour change should be, Mead added: “I’m pretty easy, I’m pretty laid back to be fair. As long as I’m playing for my country, I don’t mind what I wear.”

England midfielder Georgia Stanway, who was named player of the match in England’s match in front of a new record crowd for a Women’s Euros game at Old Trafford, said switching to another colour was not necessarily straightforward.

“It’s difficult, because we associate England with white,” said Stanway. “The home kit is unbelievable, it looks really nice. I think that’s something that we can speak about as a full squad, as a group of girls.

“I think next year there is potentially a colour change going in. I think it’s hard, because once you’re on the grass, nothing else matters. I think we have a good doctor who likes to look after us. As soon as the adrenaline comes in, you could be naked and nobody cares. That’s what happens when you’re on the pitch, you forget about everything.”

An FA spokesperson said: “We recognise the importance and want our players to feel our full support on this matter. Any feedback made by them will be taken into consideration for future designs.

“We will continue to work in close consultation with our partners Nike, while still following guidance from tournament organisers where possible in terms of colour choices.”

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