England star ‘disgusted’ by football club’s decision to axe entire female section


A football club has come under fire for axing its entire female section, with Lioness Beth Mead saying she is “disgusted” by the decision.

The controversial move by the committee of Teesside-based Thornaby FC has left more than 100 women and girls without a football club.

The women’s section, writing on Facebook, said the club’s Under-7s, U8s, U10s, U11s, U15s and women’s teams would be lost.

“This leaves over 100 girls without a club,” they said.

“We are are all devastated to hear of the Thornaby FC decision and would like to thank the members of the club who voted to keep female football.”

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Ms Mead, who grew up near Whitby in North Yorkshire, said the girls deserved better.

“Disgusted to see this decision,” the England and Arsenal forward wrote on X. “The women’s game is on the up but we still have committees making these horrible decisions.

“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.”

She added: “If I can help with anything do reach out, us women need to stick together.”

‘This has blown my mind’

Maz Pacheco, a defender for Women’s Super League club Aston Villa, wrote on X: “This has blown my mind… How can you just remove a whole women’s and girls section of your club???”

The major of Tees Valley, Ben Houchen, also expressed “outrage” at the decision, which he has attributed to a “1970s mindset”.

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“As we head into a summer of Euros, we should be trying to expand the game, not put barriers up,” he said in a statement posted on X.

“If my daughter wants to play football when she gets older I expect her to be treated the same and have the same opportunities as the boys her age.”

Mr Houchen added he would be contacting the club to tell them “this terrible decision needs reversing immediately”.

Chairman outvoted

The club’s chairman Garry Morris also criticised the decision.

“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 effected by these actions,” he wrote on Facebook.

“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.”

He added: “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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