Eniola Aluko: FA sticking by Mark Sampson after 'bullying' claims

Eniola Aluko spoke to the BBC about Sampson claims in August

England women boss Mark Sampson retains the full support of the Football Association after being accused of "bullying and discrimination" by striker Eniola Aluko.

Sampson, 34, has been cleared of wrongdoing by two investigations and vehemently denies the claims.

Earlier, Aluko's club Chelsea "commended" the 30-year-old for "speaking of her experiences".

And anti-racism group Kick It Out wants a new independent review into the case.

It says claims by Aluko on Monday "throw new light on the allegations".

But the FA is sticking by its findings and supporting Sampson, BBC Sport understands.

Speaking to the BBC, the Chelsea Ladies striker claimed Sampson made a "racist comment" about her family in Nigeria being infected with the Ebola virus. Sampson vehemently denies saying this.

The FA said the allegation arose in informal correspondence and was not included in Aluko's subsequent complaint, or it would have been investigated.

A Chelsea spokesman has said the 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".

Players' union the Professional Footballers' Association says it has been supporting Aluko "from the first moment she made us aware of her experiences of playing for the England team".

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor added the organisation supported calls for a second independent probe.

Aluko was also supported by former England team-mate Lianne Sanderson, who tweeted:external-link "I am so proud of one of my best friends, Eni Aluko. I have stood with you through this and I will continue to do so."

Former FA director of corporate affairs Simon Johnson tweeted:external-link "Well done to Eni Aluko for speaking out. No-one should have to justify why they perceive a comment as racist. Sad it came to this, but brave."

Mark Sampson
Mark Sampson led England to the semi-finals of Women's Euro 2017 after they finished third at the World Cup in 2015

'The situation is one of utter confusion'

A three-month independent investigation by barrister Katharine Newton last year did not uphold any of Aluko's complaints, and cleared Sampson and the FA of any wrongdoing.

Aluko, however, has claimed the investigation and a previous FA inquiry were "flawed".

The FA denies this and says Aluko, who has played 102 times for England, declined to respond to the Newton investigation.

She has not been picked by Sampson since making allegations against him as part of an FA cultural review into England management.

The FA has insisted the timing was purely coincidental as the review was confidential and anonymous.

But Aluko claims she suffered "victimisation as a result of me reporting discrimination".

Anti-racism campaign group Kick It Out said the situation was now "one of utter confusion with claims and counter-claims".

It added: "Kick It Out urges the FA to undertake a comprehensive and independent review of the processes involved in the original complaint made by Aluko up to the final point of the independent investigation by Katharine Newton QC.

"This is so they can take on board any lessons learned, to remedy any deficiencies identified and to ensure it has an operational culture that treats any individual, whatever their background, equally, fairly and with dignity and respect.

"The FA must ensure a situation like this will never happen again in order to build trust, confidence and credibility."

Kick It Out demand clarity

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