An England football player has said that she was subjected to behaviour “bordering on blackmail” by the Football Association (FA) over a £80,000 settlement fee.
Eniola Aluko, who is Nigerian-born, also accused England women’s goalkeeping coach Lee Kendall of speaking to her in a fake Caribbean accent.
Aluko’s comments come after the FA issued an apology to her and Drew Spence following new evidence that former England manager Mark Sampson made remarks that were “discriminatory on the grounds of race”.
The apology came ahead of the start of parliamentary inquiry on Wednesday, with senior FA officials facing questions over the investigations into Sampson’s alleged racism and bullying of Aluko.
Aluko told a committee of MPs that the FA’s treatment of her was “bordering on blackmail” after she said that she had not received payment of an £80,000 settlement fee in full.
“I had one meeting with Martin Glenn and he effectively suggested that if I wrote a favourable statement saying that the FA are not institutionally racist that they would think about releasing that money. I felt that was bordering on blackmail,” Aluko said.
“For Martin Glenn to effectively suggest that I should say that the FA are not institutionally racist in order to get a payment that they already contractually agreed to, I think is, again, a suggestion that the case has been handled appallingly."
The findings of a new investigation concluded that on two separate occasions Sampson made “ill-judged attempts at humour” towards Aluko and Spence.
Martin Glenn, chief executive of the FA, said in a statement: “On behalf of The Football Association 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.”
Despite Newton concluding that Sampson made poorly-judged attempts at humour, she said he “was not a racist”.
The FA’s statement continued: “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 externale investigation as this would have enabled Katharine Newton to conduct and complete her investigation sooner.
“We fully support the recommendations from the report.”
Aluko, an experienced international player, had claimed that Sampson had told her to be careful that her Nigerian relatives did not bring the Ebola virus with them when they came to watch a game at Wembley.
Aluko, who has been capped 102 times for England, has not played since making her claims last year.
The 30-year-old said she had suffered “victimisation” for speaking out about discrimination in the England team set-up.
Spence, a mixed-race player, alleged that after being called up to the England team in 2015 she was asked by Sampson how many times she had been arrested.
Sampson was sacked last month as England Women’s head coach over “inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour” in a previous role.
Tracey Crouch, the Sport Minister, said at the time that the situation was “a mess” and “raises very serious questions” about the FA’s recruitment process.