Chelsea Ladies and England forward Eniola Aluko, the elder sister of Nigeria forward Sone, has been issued an apology by the England FA after sacked England Women’s manager Mark Simpson was found guilty of making a discriminatory statement to her and teammate Drew Spence.
The Telegraph reported on Wednesday that an inquiry by Katherine Newton, who investigated the case, exonerated Aluko who had accused Simpson of racial abuse.
Aluko had claimed that Sampson joked that he hoped that her Nigerian relatives would not bring the dreaded disease Ebola to London on a proposed visit. He also asked Aluko’s black team mate Drew Spence how many times she had been arrested.
“I have concluded that on two separate occasions, MS (Mark Simpson) has made ill-judged attempts at humour, which, as a matter of law, were discriminatory on the grounds of race within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010,” Newton wrote in her report.
“However, that is not the same as concluding that MS is racist. In fact, I consider it fundamentally important to emphasise that I have not concluded that MS is a racist.
“However, given my findings in respect of these two comments, I have re-considered each and every conclusion reached in my First Report in order to determine whether or not that should remain. Having done so, I conclude that they should. The fact that MS made these comments does not necessarily mean that he also subjected EA (Eniola Aluko) to a course of bullying and discriminatory conduct in respect of other matters.
“I have re-read and re-considered all the written evidence including all the transcripts of interviews and all the underlying documents, and conclude that my original conclusions on the other individual allegations and also the umbrella allegation of a continuing course of discriminatory, bullying and victimisation should remain untouched.”
In response to the report, the FA Chief Executive Mark Glenn said: “I would like to sincerely apologise to Eniola Aluko and Drew Spence. Based on new evidence submitted to independent barrister Katharine Newton, she has now found that they were both subject to discriminatory remarks made by an FA employee. This is not acceptable.
“In her final report, Katharine Newton concluded that, on two separate occasions, Mark Sampson made ill-judged attempts at humour, which, as a matter of law, were discriminatory on grounds of race within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010. Katharine Newton did, however, conclude that Mark Sampson was not racist.”
“She also concluded that there was no evidence to support the allegations that Eniola Aluko was subjected to ‘a course of bullying and discriminatory conduct’ by Mark Sampson.
“Our ambition has always been to find the truth and take swift and appropriate action if needed. It was our decision to have the original, second and final investigation to ensure that due diligence was taken.
“It is regrettable that Eniola did not participate in the first external investigation as this would have enabled Katharine Newton to conduct and complete her investigation sooner.
“We will fully support the recommendations from the report.”