August 23 – The English Football Association is reported to be sticking by the coach of its national women’s team Mark Sampson despite fresh allegations that he made a racist remark towards striker Eniola Aluko.
Sampson was cleared of any wrongdoing after being accused of “bullying and discrimination” by Aluko who this week followed up her initial complaint by telling the BBC she felt “completely shocked and intimidated” over a racist comment allegedly made by Sampson about her family.
She revealed that when she told Sampson she had family from Nigeria coming to watch a game, he replied: “Make sure they don’t bring Ebola with them.’
Reports suggest there were no witnesses to the conversation and Sampson has vehemently denied making a racist comment.
A three-month independent investigation last year rejected Aluko’s initial complaints and British media reports said the FA would likewise be rejecting calls for a fresh inquiry and that Sampson would continue to lead the team ahead of the start of their World Cup qualifying campaign next month.
England’s Professional Footballers’ Association is the latest body to be dragged into the affair with chairman Gordon Taylor telling the Daily Telegraph: “Understandably, we share Eni’s concerns regarding what has occurred and would fully support an open, transparent and independent investigation into her experiences and any other incidents which any of her team-mates may also wish to raise.
“We feel that this is very important to ensure that these serious issues are properly dealt with and to also ensure that an appropriate process is put in place to give any other players the confidence to raise any similar issues.”
Former FA director of corporate affairs, Simon Johnson, now chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council whose remit at the FA included anti-discrimination, also waded in.
“It’s clearly an unsatisfactory situation where you have the alleged victim very dissatisfied with the process and the governing body perfectly satisfied with the process,” Johnson said.
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