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  1. ITV Report

England footballer Eni Aluko: FA's actions 'bordered on blackmail'

England footballer Eni Aluko has accused the FA of actions "bordering on blackmail", in relation to complaints about bullying and harassment within the England Women's team set up.

The Football Association today apologised to Aluko and another of her England women's teammates after a second internal investigation found their former coach Mark Sampson made discriminatory remarks towards them.

However in evidence given to MPs in Westminster, Aluko claimed a portion of a settlement agreed with the FA had not yet been paid, and she felt the FA's actions were "bordering on blackmail".

Eni Aluko and Drew Spence were subjected to discriminatory remarks by coach Mark Sampson Credit: PA

The case stems back to allegations made against former England coach Sampson, who has been found by a second internal investigation to have made "ill-judged attempts at humour" when speaking to players Aluko and Drew Spence.

Aluko, 30, claimed Sampson made an inappropriate comment about her Nigerian family having Ebola before an England match in 2014.

And Spence, 24, alleged Sampson made remarks about the number of times she had been arrested in a racial light.

The allegations came at a time that the 35-year-old coach was already under the spotlight for inappropriate behaviour during his time at Bristol Academy - something which led to his firing from the national side in September.

The FA's investigation found Mark Sampson made 'ill-judged attempts at humour' but was not a racist Credit: PA

Katherine Newton, who led the second investigation, concluded that Sampson was "not a racist", and that Aluko had not been subjected to prolonged bullying.

Speaking on behalf of the FA, CEO Martin Glenn said the body wished to "sincerely apologise" to the striker and midfielder.

Questioned by MPs, Aluko - who has not been picked for England since April 2016 - said an agreement was reached for £80,000 to be paid to her in two installments, for loss of future earnings.

However she told the Culture, Media and Sport select committee she had not been paid the second half.

Aluko told MPs that Glenn told her if she wrote a statement saying the FA is not institutionally racist they would think about releasing the money.

"I felt that was bordering on blackmail," she said.

She refused to write any statement, because she felt it was not for her to come to a determination on whether the FA was institutionally racist or not.

I don't know what the legal definition of blackmail is but I felt I was being asked to do something that I wouldn't ordinarily have done in exchange for a payment that was already agreed.

– Eniola Aluko, England footballer

The FA has claimed she was defamatory in a tweet she sent, so they felt legally entitled to withhold the second payment, she said.

She also told the committee she felt relief and vindication at the findings of the second investigation.

Answering questions from the select committee following Aluko's statements, Glenn said: "We want to offer a full and unreserved apology to Drew and Eniola. An independent report has found that they were subject to discriminatory remarks."

FA CEO Martin Glenn refused to say whether Aluko would receive the second payment of her settlement Credit: PA

However he would not say whether or not she would receive the second payment from the settlement.

He said a tweet sent by Aluko was "a clear breach" of the agreement they had made, and he denied asking requesting she write a statement saying the FA was not institutionally racist.

Asked if the payment would be made Glenn said: "We will reflect on many things."

Told it was a yes or no question, he said: "We will reflect on it."