Eni Aluko Disappointed By Lack Of Support From England Teammates Since Abuse Scandal
Footballer Eniola Aluko said that she has had "no support from most" of her England teammates since her racial abuse case and questioned whether the squad's "togetherness" was "just a hashtag on Twitter," according to Alistair Magowan of the BBC. After three inquiries, former England Manager Mark Sampson was found to have "used discriminatory language to two players" -- Aluko and Drew Spence. But England striker Aluko said that she has had "no communication" from her int'l teammates, except for those she plays with at Women's Super League 1 side Chelsea. This is despite the 30-year-old believing England players may "benefit" from improvements to the FA's grievance process resulting from the case. In her first interview since contributing to the Digital, Cultural, Media & Sport inquiry into FA governance at Westminster last month, Aluko said that she was "proud the truth has been corroborated," but is "keen to draw a line" under a "stormy" episode and is open to helping the FA improve its culture and grievance process. England players have "largely been silent in public" since the FA apologized to Aluko. She said, "Would there have been a different response if homophobic statements were made to players? I think there would be." It has come at a time when "many women's teams are pushing for equality" -- Women's Euro 2017 runner-up Denmark went on strike in order to get a pay raise, while Norway's players are now "paid the same as their male counterparts." Aluko said that she has been "inspired" by those teams, and believes the Lionesses need to learn "true togetherness." She added, "I've had a lot of support from other countries: Norway, Sweden, France, particularly the United States girls. ... We need to look at other examples and ask why this isn't happening with a team ranked third in the world. Is the togetherness we keep banging on about actually being put into action or is it just a hashtag on Twitter? Unless we do that, I don't think we can achieve what we really want to." In a newspaper interview last week, England right-back Lucy Bronze suggested Aluko "needed to be more of a team player if she was to represent England again." But Aluko, who has "huge respect" for Bronze, said that having played for England for 11 years, she "passed the test for the conditions required for an England player" (BBC, 11/9).