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A British politician and a local women’s rights group are calling on the national sports governing body for football to take action after a youth boys soccer club received a sponsorship deal from Hooters, a popular American restaurant chain.
Barbara Keeley, a British Labour Party member who serves the Worsley and Eccles South constituency, took to social media on Friday to call out The Football Association after Hooters of Nottingham announced on Facebook that it recently became the “proud” new sponsors of the Burton Joyce Football Club, a boy’s under 10 team.
“As [Womanchester] has pointed out, it is completely inappropriate that Hooters Nottingham is sponsoring an under 10s football team,” her tweet, which included screenshots of the original Facebook post, read.
“[The Football Association] needs to act on this, as part of safeguarding children.”
Womanchester, a Manchester women’s advocacy group, said the deal was “not appropriate.”
“Teaching boys to see girls as their body parts & judge them on their ‘female sex appeal’ does harm to boys & girls & does nothing to help build healthy relationships! It seems crazy that this needs to be said in 2022,” the group wrote in a tweet.
Keeley also shared a tweet from a community interest group that questioned whether the local club sought approval before entering the deal, citing FA’s rules book for the 2020-2021 season.
Nottinghamshire FA, the local sports governing body, quickly responded to the backlash in a statement, saying it was not approached by the club about the sponsorship deal.
“We have become aware of a local sponsorship deal between Burton Joyce Under 10’s boys football team and Hooters of Nottingham. The County FA had not been approached by the club seeking sanction for the sponsorship and had we been, the request would have been declined in accordance with FA rules appertaining to the Kit and Advertising regulations,” the statement read.
“From being made aware of the sponsorship we have been working with the club to reinforce their understanding of the regulations surrounding such sponsorship. We understand the difficult climate that grassroots football operates within and urge any club seeking investment from sponsorship that they are fully aware of the regulations or contact us for clarification.”
The original Facebook post from the restaurant chain appeared to have been removed, but screenshots of the post showed two female employees in Hooters tracksuits with the team, whose jerseys were branded with the Hooters logo.