Aluko discusses Sampson row, makes fresh allegations

Date published: Tuesday 22nd August 2017 1:58

Eni Aluko hopes to be able to move on from the fall out of her row with the Football Association following allegations England Women manager Mark Sampson told her to make sure her Nigerian relatives did not bring the Ebola virus to a game at Wembley.

Striker Aluko last year made a series of allegations to the FA in a complaint about the behaviour of Sampson, who was subsequently cleared of racial discrimination, bullying and harassment following an independent inquiry by barrister Katharine Newton which was commissioned by the governing body

It was reported last week that Aluko received a five-figure sum in an agreement to avoid disruption to England’s recent Women’s Euro 2017 preparations.

The FA stressed this “mutual resolution” was not to prevent disclosure and that Aluko, who remains centrally contracted, was free to speak publicly about the matter.

On Monday the 30-year-old made further claims when she spoke publicly about the matter for the first time, giving a broadcast interview to the BBC as well as an in-depth discussion to the Guardian.

Aluko said she was speaking out now because there was “a lot of half-truths out in the public”.

She later shared links to both interviews with her Twitter followers on Monday evening, and wrote: “I have kept my counsel but after my honesty I hope this difficult case will now be clear after your reading. I’d like to move on.”

Aluko, who won 102 caps and scored 33 goals for England before falling out of favour last year, said to BBC Sport: “In 2014 we had a big game against Germany. It was at Wembley and we had a big list of friends and family who would be coming to the game. I found myself next to Mark Sampson next to the board.

“He asked me, ‘Who’s coming to watch the game for you?’ I said, ‘I’ve got family flying in from Nigeria’. And he said, ‘Make sure they don’t come over with Ebola’.”

A visibly upset Aluko, who was born in Nigeria and moved to England with her family as a young child, continued: “I laughed because I was in shock. I didn’t know what to say.

“Now I’ve been part of many dressing rooms. I’m used to industrial language, used to sometimes a bit of banter, a bit of a joke – but that was about my family coming to a game, and at the time, Ebola was a sensitive thing.

“He (Sampson) made that comment, and I have evidence of telling another player that it happened at the time.

“This evidence has been submitted to the Football Association. They chose to ignore it.”

Asked if she believed it was a racist comment, Aluko replied: “Yes, I believe it was. I believe it was an unfavourable comment made to me that made me feel completely shocked and intimidated, that was said to me because I’m of African descent.

“I don’t know anybody else in the team who has been asked to make sure their family do not come over with Ebola.”

When contacted by Press Association Sport on Monday evening, the FA maintained that all of Aluko’s grievances were taken very seriously.

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