Why can't fans buy Mackenzie Arnold's goalkeeper jersey?
Unfortunately for fans of the Matildas, the Australian team's apparel sponsor Nike made the decision prior to the Women's World Cup that they would not produce replica goalkeeper jerseys for the tournament.
Speaking on the rationale behind the decision, a spokesperson for Nike told 9News that the manufacturer collaborates with FIFA "to determine what assortment of particular player jerseys go on sale based on several factors, including demand in some markets."
While Nike may have chosen not to produce goalkeeper jerseys due to demand, many football fans believe this rationale is unfair due to the fact that jerseys are available for 20 of the 23 Matildas players; excluding goalkeepers Mackenzie Arnold, Lydia Williams, and Teagan Micah.
"Obviously, it would be really cool to see kids, or anyone really, with the goalkeeper jersey on, especially seeing how well goalkeepers have done throughout this whole tournament," Arnold said in the lead-up to the semi-final.
Fans have since started a petition calling for Nike to reconsider their decision and begin production on female goalkeeper jerseys for purchase
"Let's make them see just how important our female goalkeepers are, how respected they are, and how many young girls aspire to join them in the future," wrote petition founder Emmy Louisa, with the petition amassing over 50,000 signatures.
The Matildas are sadly not the only team affected by Nike's strange uniform rule.
Speaking on the issue, England's goalkeeper Mary Earps previously told The Guardian that she and her fellow Lionesses teammates had been "fighting behind closed doors" with England's football governing body and Nike to kickstart production on goalkeeper jerseys.
"On a personal level, it is hugely hurtful," Earps told the publication, adding, "It is the young kids I am most concerned about... What you are saying is that goalkeeping isn't important, but you can be a striker if you want."
Earps also shared that prior to the 2022 UEFA Women's Champions League tournament, she had not been made aware that her jersey would not be available. Earps instead uncovered the news when she found out that the promotional material of the goalkeepers had not been used as part of her team's merchandise campaign.
"As a whole goalkeeper union, we are all tremendously disappointed but also, most importantly, the rest of the girls are really disappointed too... We, as a group, stand for inclusion and this is the total opposite of what we stand for."
Will goalkeeper jerseys become available to buy?
According to The Guardian, it is understood that the mass production of goalkeeper jerseys is not part of Nike's overall commercial strategy and therefore, it is unlikely that we will see goalkeeper jerseys on sale in the near future.
Despite the immediate lack of availability, it does appear that fan fervour has brought the topic of goalkeeper jerseys to the forefront of Nike's attention.
"We hear and understand the desire for a retail version of goalkeeper jerseys and this is something we will definitely take into consideration for future tournaments... The fact that there's a conversation on this topic is a testament to the continued passion and energy around the women's game and we believe that's encouraging," a Nike spokesperson told The Sydney Morning Herald.