The English Football Association have issued an apology to Chelsea forward Eniola Aluko and midfielder Drew Spence after former England Women manager Mark Sampson was found guilty of making discriminatory remarks, reports the Evening Standard.
Sampson was sacked in September, after fresh allegations of inappropriate conduct towards a Bristol Academy player back when he was in charge. The Daily Mail reported he had a six-month relationship with said player but still continued as manager despite the report being known to the FA in 2015.
The allegations made by Aluko weren’t said to be related to Sampson’s sacking, but now the Football Association will be under even more intense criticism after having previously stood by the former England Women manager following two independent investigations by barrister Katharine Newton.
Aluko was delighted with the outcome, saying: “My emotion is just relief as it’s been a long process getting to this point. I’m not architect or engineer of this situation. I’ve been put in it. I’m a human being and I feel relieved. It suggests it was kind of all worth it going through the trouble and having it vindicated.”
It’s an embarrassing situation for chief executive Martin Glenn, who Aluko alleges ignored her complaint in 2016, forcing her to go to a tribunal. Questions will now be asked why the Football Association botched the investigation before coming to a guilty verdict for Sampson.
After telling Sampson that her Nigerian parents were coming to England to watch her represent the Lionesses, Aluko has alleged Sampson told her that he “hopes they don’t bring Ebola with them”. And Aluko claimed Sampson said to Drew Spence, “you’ve been arrested four times, haven’t you?”, despite the Chelsea midfielder having never been arrested.
The first investigation by Newton led to a number of witnesses being ignored for interviews, witnesses that have since led to the discriminatory remarks being confirmed. But Aluko’s allegations against Glenn could turn out to be the most damaging, having suggested she was blackmailed to cover the name of the FA.
“I had one meeting with Martin Glenn and he said if I wrote a statement that the Football Association is not institutionally racist, they would release the payment. I believed that bordered on blackmail. I categorically refused to write any statement. It is not for me to say that the FA is not institutionally racist,” Aluko added.
“For Martin Glenn to say I should say that in order to get a payment I was contractually agreed to is appalling.” It’s worth noting Aluko is still awaiting her payment. “The FA claimed I was defamatory in a tweet I sent and they felt they were legally entitled to withhold the payment. I disagree with that,” she revealed.
There have been many calls for Glenn and chairman Greg Clarke to resign, although the two are believed to have the backing of the FA board and FA council, says Sky Sports.
The Guardian’s Daniel Taylor wrote a thread on Twitter detailing the findings from the sports select committee.