Arsenal Women coach Jonas Eidevall admits that it is a problem that the women’s first team has no visible players of colour in the squad. Arsenal are one of two WSL clubs not to have a player of colour in their first team squad (Everton being the other).
A lack of grassroots recruitment in urban areas over the last 15 years is heavily touted as one of the issues that has seen participation in girls football drop off markedly over the last decade and a half, with many regional talent centres in inner city areas closed down and youth recruitment happening largely in more suburban areas.
England’s 2007 and 2011 World Cup squads each had six players who were either Black or Mixed Race, while England’s Euro 2022 winning squad had three players of colour, two of whom did not play a minute at the tournament. Jonas Eidevall was asked about the lack of ethnic diversity in the current women’s squad ahead of Arsenal’s match with Manchester City on Sunday.
Our 2023/24 squad. pic.twitter.com/PCUHZdFGEh
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) October 13, 2023
“I haven’t seen much reaction online to start with but, where we come from in North London, we are very proud of our community and it is a diverse community,” Eidevall responded.
“The history of the club, both the men’s and the women’s first team, has a very proud history of players coming from diverse backgrounds as well and the club are very proud of that.
“Us not having that diversity in the women’s first team squad today, of course, that is a problem. Women’s football has a diversity problem in getting people of colour involved in football.
“Not only at the top level but also at grassroots level, we have to work with that and so do the FA and other clubs.”
Arseblog News will have a long read on this subject published in the next week or so. We have spoken to a range of people from a range of perspectives to explain why there is a lack of diversity in the women’s first team, why it’s an issue and what is being done to solve it.