Jonas Eidevall says Arsenal are working to preserve their “proud history” of playing staff being more representative of the “diverse north London community”.
The club said last month it accepted it needed to tackle the lack of diversity in the women’s team as a priority after posting a photograph of Eidevall’s squad for the 2023-24 season on social media with no black or ethnic minority players in the 27-strong lineup.
Arsenal accept lack of diversity in their women’s team needs to changeRead more
Eidevall said the action required top-to-bottom change for a “problem” that extends beyond Arsenal. “Where we come from in north London we are very proud of our diverse community,” the manager said. “The history of the club, both the men’s team and women’s first team, has a very proud history of players coming from diverse backgrounds as well.
“Not having that diversity, that is a problem. Women’s football has a diversity problem in getting people of colour more involved in football. Not only at the top level but also at grassroots and we have to work on that but so does the FA and other clubs.”
Arsenal play Manchester City at Meadow Park on Sunday, their first game there since a 2-0 end-of-season loss to Aston Villa in May. Eidevall is looking forward to going back to a place where they have had “great experiences” after his side shared the Emirates Stadium.
“It is a very intimate atmosphere,” he said. “We are at a crossroads where we are having great experiences at the Emirates. I understand because of logistics it is not easy for the club to move our games to the Emirates. It is a natural process and it needs to take a little bit of time but as always we look forward to playing in front of a sell-out crowd.”
Brighton had a motion passed to seek a site to build the country’s first purpose-built women’s football stadium for a professional club but Eidevall feels it is a difficult to imagine Arsenal doing the same because what seems today to be a sensible-sized stadium may not be appropriate in the future.
“In five years’ time people might say it’s its too small and the Emirates is a perfect size. It depends all on the club but the ability to sell out stadiums is an important component because I always think its a special feeling going into a sold-out ground.”
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Eidevall said it will be important to stop City in the air. He rates them, alongside Chelsea, as one of the most dangerous aerial sides in the division and believes their quality will make them hard to beat. “City have been playing well for a long time since spring, which makes sense because they have had a lot of consistency in the way they play. They have the same coach but also because they have the same players and have been able to play with them.”
Vivianne Miedema and Beth Mead continue their comebacks from long-term injury and the rest of Eidevall’s squad are in contention after reporting back from international duty.