1. ITV Report

Sports minister hopes FA learns from 'sorry saga' of discrimination claims

Eni Aluko accused former coach Mark Sampson of making discriminatory remarks Credit: PA

The sports minister has said she hopes the Football Association learns lessons from the "sorry saga" of harassment and bullying accusations from top players and how they were dealt with.

On Wednesday England's Eni Aluko accused the FA of actions "bordering on blackmail", in relation to how they dealt with an element of her complaints about treatment in the England Women's team set up.

That followed a second internal investigation at the FA which found former England coach Mark Sampson had made discriminatory remarks towards Aluko and another player, Drew Spence.

Eni Aluko has given evidence to a committee of MPs Credit: PA

The FA apologised after the investigation found the coach - who was fired in September for alleged inappropriate behaviour during his time at Bristol Academy - made "ill-judged attempts at humour", which were discriminatory on a the grounds of race.

Sports minister Tracey Crouch said she hoped the FA would learn and change so that everybody would "have faith in their processes and procedures".

We have been clear that we expect world leading standards of governance from all our national sports governing bodies.

This is why, alongside Sport England and UK Sport, we have drawn up a new Code for Sports Governance that all publicly funded sports bodies, including the FA, must adhere to.

– Tracey Crouch, sports minister

The controversy does not seem to be at an end however, after Aluko told MPs at a select committee the FA had withheld an agreed settlement payment to her, in actions she said seemed to be "bordering on blackmail."

High profile figures in the game have also spoken out against the FA's actions.

Lord Ouseley, the chairman of the anti-racism in football Kick it Out campaign, told ITV News they had "damaged their reputation".

  • Lord Ouseley, chairman of Kick it Out

And the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association Gordon Taylor said after how Eni Aluko was treated: "How can anybody have any faith in the FA to deal with their issues?"

  • Gordon Taylor, chief executive of PFA

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

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

Answering questions from the select committee on Wednesday following Aluko's statements, the FA's CEO Martin 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."

He wouldn't confirm however if Aluko would receive the outstanding settlement payment, claiming she had broken the agreement by tweeting a defamatory comment about the FA.