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Volume 10 No. 25
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PFA Calls For New Inquiry Into Eni Aluko's Claims Of Racism By England Manager

The Professional Footballers’ Association backed the call for "an open, transparent and independent investigation" into how England int'l and Chelsea Ladies player Eni Aluko’s grievances were handled by the FA, according to the London GUARDIAN. Its intervention came as Chelsea "commended" its forward for "speaking about her experiences" after she accused England women's national team Manager Mark Sampson of telling her to make sure her Nigerian relatives "did not bring Ebola to a game at Wembley." Aluko also described as a "farce" two FA inquiries into allegations that Sampson "asked a mixed-race player at an England meeting how many times she had been arrested." Sampson is understood to have denied making the alleged Ebola remark and "was cleared of wrongdoing by the FA in relation to the other matter and to further allegations made by Aluko that she had been the victim of bullying and discrimination." The FA has admitted the mixed-race player "was not spoken to during the two investigations it commissioned." It said that it has not investigated the alleged Ebola remark, described as a "racist joke" in a letter from the PFA to the governing body, because "there was no formal allegation." Anti-racism campaign group Kick It Out called for the FA "to undertake a comprehensive and independent review of the processes involved." PFA CEO Gordon Taylor "offered his continued support to Aluko." He said, "We were naturally shocked and very concerned when we learned of the serious issues Eni had faced and immediately offered her independent legal advice." In a statement, Chelsea said, "We commend Eni for coming forward and speaking about her experiences. Chelsea football club finds any and all forms of discrimination abhorrent and it is imperative that players are supported when coming forward to speak about these issues" (GUARDIAN, 8/22).

In London, Ben Rumsby reported former FA Dir of Corporate Affairs Simon Johnson "also backed another inquiry." Taylor said that any new inquiry should be led by a QC or barrister jointly appointed by the FA and PFA, a view "endorsed by Johnson, whose remit at the FA included anti-discrimination matters." Johnson said, "When I was looking after race equality at the FA, I continued to preach that we needed to have visible, confidence-building measures if we were going to eliminate racism from the game. There is a situation here where there is a complete lack of confidence and it’s being played out publicly." Kick It Out Chair Herman Ouseley said, "Whilst welcoming what Gordon Taylor is saying, I'm surprised that, firstly, they concluded a deal that didn't safeguard the interests of all their members and, secondly, it's taken a year and a half before they've uttered a word identifying weaknesses that needed rectifying a long time ago" (TELEGRAPH, 8/22).

HITTING A NERVE: The PA reported Aluko said, "In 2014 we had a big game against Germany. He [Sampson] 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.' ... 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." She added, "This evidence has been submitted to the Football Association. They chose to ignore it." Aluko said that she was speaking out now because there were "a lot of half-truths out in the public" (PA, 8/21).