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The new England Football crest featuring a cub, lion and lioness has faced a fan backlash — even though the elite teams will stick with the traditional Three Lions.
A post from the England Football Twitter account attempted to explain the badge change, which was introduced this week as part of a complete redesign of the Football Association’s grassroots initiative.
“A cub, lion and lioness unite to form the new England Football crest with no boundaries; representing everyone at every level of football across the country,” the post explained.
Football Association social media channels emphasised that there will be no changes to the senior kits, after criticism of the motif, which was designed to encourage grassroots participation.
But hundreds of England fans tweeted their dismay at the design, with some suggesting that the branding was "PC nonsense". Another remarked: "Who’s offended by a lion?"
Other comments include "why change something that is perfect already," "The Plantagenet symbol of England erased, just like that," and "I know somebody needs to look busy in the office but don’t mess around for the sake of it".
Amid the Twitter storm, the new England Football brand posted on Thursday that "teams will continue to wear the traditional Three Lions crest, as they have done since the first-ever international game in 1872".
Angry reaction from the traditionalists was sparked 24 hours after the FA launched the new name and "visual identity" which, it said, will "represent, unite and promote football participation in England".
Harry Kane, Lucy Bronze and Marcus Rashford feature in a new film promoting the project, alongside portraits of grassroots heroes nationwide to "demonstrate the true diversity and fabric of football in England".
Mark Bullingham, chief executive of The FA, said before the launch: “This is a significant change as we unite all our grassroots initiatives and programmes under one banner. England Football will harness the unique ability of the England teams to inspire future generations and positively impact participation at all levels of the game.
"Kids want to be the next Steph Houghton, Harry Kane, Nikita Parris or Raheem Sterling. As well as inspiring future generations, England Football’s digital tools will help us to create more opportunities to play, coach and support the game, nationwide. We want football to be for all and to play a major role in getting the country active following the impact of Covid 19 – England Football will help achieve that.”
England Football helps fulfil the FA's charitable aims as a not-for-profit governing body of football in England.