Eni Aluko Nigerian-born player opens up on racism in England’s Women team

Born to Nigerian parents, Aluko is the older sister of Nigeria international and Fulham player Sone Aluko.

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Eniola Aluko play Nigerian-born Eniola Aluko has opened up about racism in the England Women's team. (PA)
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Nigerian-born player Eniola Aluko has opened up about the racial abuse she received from England Women’s coach Mark Sampson.

Born to Nigerian parents, Aluko is the older sister of Nigeria international and Fulham player Sone Aluko.

Aluko last May submitted an email complaint to the FA about the culture of bullying and harassment within the association but was paid £80,000 to keep quiet.

In a new revelation, the 30-year-old has opened up about when she was told by the coach, Sampson to make sure her 'Nigerian relatives did not bring Ebola to a match' before England played Germany in November 2014.

Eniola Aluko play Eniola Aluko is the elder sister of Sone Aluko, a Nigeria international (Getty Images for Premier League)

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We were in the hotel, everybody was excited. It was a big game. On the wall, there was a list of the family and friends who were coming to watch us and I just happened to be next to Mark," Aluko told the UK Guardian.

"He asked me if I had anyone who would be there and I said I had family coming over from Nigeria. 'Oh,' he said. 'Nigeria? Make sure they don’t bring Ebola with them'.

 “I remember laughing but in a very nervous way. I went back to my room and I was really upset.

This revelation comes after Aluko claimed in an eight-page complaint that Sampson made a comment with ‘racial and prejudicial connotations’ to another mixed-race player, who he insinuated had been arrested by the police, during a tournament meeting in 2015.

Mark Sampson play Aluko says England Women's coach Mark Sampson told her not to allow her Nigerian family bring Ebola to the stadium (PA)

The Chelsea Ladies player also claimed that just 24 hours after meeting with top officials of the FA to discuss her complaint, they put her under investigation for her role as a sports lawyer for a football agency which the FA say is a potential conflict of interest while playing for Chelsea.

For Aluko, that was a move to punish her for complaining. “There are too many coincidences, I’m afraid. I can’t say what their motive was but I took it as a threat at the time,” she said.

She also claimed that no mix-raced player has been picked by the England Women’s team since that incident.

She mentioned Lianne Sanderson, whose 50th cap for England was not celebrated and Anita Asante who has not been picked despite playing in Sweden's Damallsvenskan, one of the best leagues in women football.

Eniola Aluko play Aluko said Mark Sampson made that statement in November 2014 before England played Germany (Getty Images)

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But are we all bad characters? Are we all terrible players? That’s the question I think people need to be asking because a pattern is emerging here, as clear as day, and my belief is that it’s a culture.

“For months, one member of staff used to talk to me in a fake Caribbean accent. He thought it was OK to do that, he thought it was funny. I believe he was empowered to do that because of the culture. We pleaded it [in submissions to the FA] but they chose to ignore it.

Prior to her revelations, the FA held a three-month independent investigation which did not uphold any of her complaints and cleared Sampson and the FA of any wrongdoing.

Following the reports of the hush-money she received from the FA, Aluko reached an agreement with the association before her latest revelation.

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