'Move on!' Nana Akua wades in on Arsenal race row as squad photo sparks woke backlash

'Move on!' Nana Akua wades in on Arsenal race row as squad photo sparks woke backlash

Nana Akua wades in on the Arsenal race row

Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 24/10/2023

- 22:07

The Premier League club insist they continue to strive for 'greater diversity'

Nana Akua has hit out at criticism facing Arsenal Football Club over a squad photo that sparked a race row.

The Premier League club insists they continue to strive for “greater diversity” as a photo of their women’s squad had no player of colour.

The Gunners are facing calls for an “emergency meeting” as a result.

Speaking on GB News, Nana Akua said ticking a diversity box is not a necessity for building a successful squad.

Arsenal players line up for a squad photo and Nana Akua

Arsenal are under fire in a new race row


“When it comes to a game you want to win, you pick the best players, it’s that straightforward”, she said.

“It’s not that easy. It’s not always the case they aren’t trying to get black people.


“Ultimately, it’s a meritocracy, don’t put someone black in there because they are black, they need to be good.”

Asked whether having an inspiration for young black girls is a necessity, Akua responded by saying it “doesn’t necessarily add up”.

“It depends how good they are. They might be black and rubbish, then it would look like they have a token black player.

“We need to move away from this notion. We need to stop seeing colour, what about the athletics? A lot of the athletes are all black, do we need a white person in there?

Arsenal women in action

A squad photo of the Arsenal women's team has sparked outrage


“We need to move on.”

The club are title contenders in the Women’s Super League and boast a squad full of stars including Leah Williamson, Beth Mead, Alessia Russo and Vivianne Miedema.

In contrast, the men’s squad is one of the most diverse in the Premier League, with the likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus and Takehiro Tomiyasu all coming from separate ethnic backgrounds.

Arsenal provided a statement to The Athletic on the matter, saying they “acknowledge” the lack of diversity in the current women’s first-team squad.

They added it “does not reflect the diversity that exists across the club and the communities we represent.”

"Increasing participation among young women and girls from diverse backgrounds is a key priority for us at academy level, with specific measures in place to improve pathways and accessibility”, they continued.

"Across all our teams, including our men’s and women’s academies, we’re proud of our players from diverse backgrounds who have contributed to our history, success and culture.

“It’s a priority for the club to continue to drive greater diversity and inclusion and create a sense of belonging for everyone connected to the club."

Arsenal are well known for a history of diversity and inclusion with iconic black players representing them in the past including the likes of Thierry Henry, David Rocastle and Patrick Vieira.

In September 2002, Arsenal became the first team in Premier League history to include nine black players in a starting XI.

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