Eniola Aluko accuses England coach of racist joke about Nigerian family

Eniola Aluko

England women’s football star, Eniola Aluko, has alleged that head coach, Mark Sampson, told her to make sure her Nigerian relatives did not bring the Ebola virus to a game at Wembley.

The 30-year-old Chelsea Ladies striker last year made a series of allegations to the Football Association in a complaint about the behaviour of Sampson, who was subsequently cleared of racial discrimination, bullying and harassment following an independent inquiry commissioned by the FA.

It was reported last week that Aluko received a five-figure sum in an agreement to avoid disruption to England’s recent Women’s Euro 2017 preparations. The FA stressed this “mutual resolution” was not to prevent disclosure and that Aluko, who remains centrally contracted, was free to speak publicly about the matter.

And on Monday the 30-year-old made further claims when she spoke publicly about the matter for the first time, saying an exchange she had with Sampson before a match in 2014 left her “completely shocked and intimidated”.

She told BBC Sport: “He asked me, ‘Who’s coming to watch the game for you?’. I said, ‘I’ve got family flying in from Nigeria’. He said, ‘Well make sure they don’t come over with Ebola’.

“I laughed because I was in shock. I didn’t know what to say.

“I believe it was (a racist comment) and, again, I go back to the definition. I believe it was an unfavourable comment made to me that made me feel completely shocked and intimidated, that was said to me because I’m of African descent.”

Aluko won 102 caps and scored 33 goals for England before falling out of favour last year. She went on to raise grievances which detailed accusations of inappropriate comments and behaviour she believed belittled her from Sampson and other coaching staff.

Sampson last week acknowledged a need to improve his communication skills, having been exonerated of any wrongdoing.

Aluko is a sport and entertainment lawyer, previously juggling her legal career with the game before committing to football full-time two years ago.

Her younger brother, Sone Aluko, of Fulham FC is an ex-Super Eagles player.