After England returned from its third-place finish in Canada, the FA wrote on Twitter on Monday: “Our Lionesses go back to being mothers, partners and daughters today, but they have taken on another title – heroes.”
The tweet was swiftly deleted after critical responses branded it patronising to the professional players who had just finished as bronze medallists in the World Cup and with many in action in the Women’s Super League as soon as this Saturday.
FA insiders said immediate action was taken to change the tweet which was “unfortunately phrased” and was aimed at flagging up the fact the players were returning to their families in Britain after more than a month away.
FA content editor James Callow tweeted: “Sorry if I caused offence. The piece is intended to sum up a nice moment when players are reunited with their families.
“I reject any accusation of sexism and human interest is a big part of any sport reporting. I’d have done the same for England men, absolutely.”
The FA has made a point in recent weeks of highlighting its promotion of women’s football – it started up the Women’s Super League, has added a second tier to the competition and girl’s and women’s football is the biggest growth area in terms of participation.