Geoff Hurst blasts Prince William for not attending Lionesses' final

World Cup hat-trick hero Sir Geoff Hurst blasts Prince William for snubbing Lionesses’ final as sexism row reignited over No 10’s ‘weak’ support and players getting a fifth of men’s £500k bonus if they had won

  • The Prince received backlash for not attending the final in Australia on Sunday
  • The Lionesses narrowly missed out on victory in the World Cup’s final stage 

Sir Geoff Hurst has blasted Prince William for not attending the Lionesses’ final against Spain in person – as a ‘sexism’ row has been reignited over the lack of support for the women’s team. 

The former England star, 81, said this morning that a member of the royal family ‘should definitely’ have attended the World Cup final at the Stadium Australia in Sydney.

The Prince of Wales, who is also the president of the Football Association, has faced criticism over his decision not to fly to Australia for England’s first World Cup final since 1966, despite members of the Spanish royals travelling Down Under.

The lack of support by major organisations for the women’s football team has sparked an ongoing ‘sexism row’ – as the government has been accused of not celebrating as much as for the men’s Euros final in 2021. 

Number 10 has been accused of showing ‘weak’ support for the team, while players were refused an £100k bonus if they had won the tournament – a fifth of the £500k promised to the England men if they had won the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.  

Sir Geoff Hurst has blasted Prince William for not attending the Lionesses’ final against Spain in person. Pictured: England’s Ella Toone in Sunday’s final

Prince William, who is president of the Football Association, apologised for not attending the match in a video with Princess Charlotte

Asked if a member of the royal family not attending the final to cheer on Sarina Wiegman’s squad was a mistake, Sir Geoff told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘Yes, I do.

READ MORE: Would this happen if the men reached the final? Sexism storm over Women’s World Cup 

‘I think if the royals attend the men’s game, they should definitely.

‘It’s an English team, a World Cup tournament, a member of the royal family should definitely have gone. No argument at all about that.’

And speaking on Good Morning Britain later in the morning he merely responded ‘Yes’ to a question from Richard Madeley asking whether Rishi Sunak and Prince William should have attended the final in person. 

The football legend took England to victory in the 1966 World Cup with a sensational hat-trick at Wembley Stadium, leading to the country’s only ever victory in the tournament. 

Prince William came under fire for not attending the game due to being on holiday, despite his role as president of the Football Association, and claims he would have attended if the men had been playing. 

He apologised for not attending in a video message with Princess Charlotte holding a football, later sharing a message after the game.

William said: ‘Lionesses, I want to send you a huge good luck for tomorrow.

Sir Geoff Hurst took England to victory in the 1966 World Cup with a sensational hat-trick at Wembley Stadium

‘We’re sorry we can’t be there in person but we’re so proud of everything you have achieved and the millions you’ve inspired here and around the world. So go out there tomorrow and really enjoy yourselves.’

A beaming Charlotte, dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, added: ‘Good luck Lionesses!’

After the game, William said: ‘Although it’s the result none of us wanted, Lionesses you have done yourselves and this nation proud.

‘Your spirit and drive have inspired so many people and paved the way for generations to come.

‘Thank you for the footballing memories. Congratulations to Spain.’

The cost of the trip and carbon footprint were cited as reasons for the prince not to go by palace sources.

What has come up in the sexism row so far? 

  • Prince William – head of the Football Association – not attending in person
  • Inadequate preparations by the government compared to the men’s final – including lackluster decorations
  • The Football Association refusing to pay a £100k per person bonus if the Lionesses won the World Cup (one fifth of the men’s £500k)
  • No plans for a bank holiday if England had triumphed in the final 
  • Nike refusing to sell a shirt with goalkeeper Mary Earps’ name – despite her winning the golden glove 

Meanwhile the government was slammed for not foreseeing that the European champions would reach the final of the World Cup – launching a desperate scramble to relax drinking rules before the game kicked off at 11am on Sunday. 

A few flags adorned the entrance to number 10 on Friday morning – but images showed the effort was lackluster compared to Boris Johnson’s decorations for the Euros in 2021. 

Dame Caroline Dinenage, the chairman of the Commons culture, media and sport committee, told The Telegraph: ‘There’s certainly a stark contrast between Downing Street decorations then and now. I hope No 10 are going to raise their game before Sunday.’ 

Meanwhile Munira Wilson, education spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats, said the display was a ‘weak attempt to support the most successful England football team in a generation.’ 

A few flags adorned the entrance to number 10 on Friday morning (left) – but images showed the effort was lackluster compared to Boris Johnson’s decorations for the Euros in 2021 (right)

Prince William tweeted the Lionesses after the game, saying ‘you have done yourselves and this nation proud’

In response, the decorations were then ramped up on Saturday afternoon.  

Meanwhile Nike has refused to sell a replica shirt for Mary Earps – despite her winning the Golden Glove Award for best goalkeeper in the tournament. 

Fans were unable to buy Earps’ kit during last summer’s Euros but the shot-stopper had been told the issue would be resolved ahead of the World Cup. 

Earps was left ‘hugely disappointed’ when she found out her shirt would once again not be available. 

Later on in his appearance on Radio 4, Mr Hurst praised the ‘boost’ the Lionesses had given to women’s football. 

He continued: ‘The legacy they’re leaving will encourage so many young girls now to start kicking a ball in the garden and wearing the England shirt. 

‘You couldn’t possibly get a bigger boost for the ladies game than the last two tournaments.

‘The quality is terrific without a shadow of a doubt.’ 

Members of the Spanish royals had travelled Down Under to support their side. Pictured centre is Queen Letizia with FIFA president Gianni Infantino and President of Spain’s soccer federation Luis Rubiales

The England team ready to take on Spain at Stadium Australia in Sydney on Sunday

Head coach Sarina Wiegman led her side to the finals of the World Cup

England players look dejected after their team is defeated 1-0 by the Spanish side

Mandu Reid, leader of the Women’s Equality Party, told MailOnline earlier: ‘It’s utterly ridiculous that England wasn’t and still isn’t prepared to celebrate the women’s World Cup final.

‘The President of the Football Association, Prince William isn’t bothering to attend, licensing laws haven’t been relaxed, there won’t be a screen at Trafalgar Square, and there’s been no word of any kind of large celebration should they win.

‘This last minute scramble to show support for the Lionesses by our leaders isn’t just embarrassing, it reveals how little they think of women’s sport.

‘You can guarantee that there’s no way the men’s football team would be treated with such disregard and disrespect.’

She added: ‘The date of the women’s football World Cup final has been set for months – of course they had enough time to plan for a win.

‘The double standards are blatant. England’s Lionesses are on the brink of making history, it’s time for the leaders of this country to fully get behind them.’

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