Lionesses hold talks with PFA over Sampson’s exit
Members of the England Women team have met the Professional Footballers’ Association to discuss the sacking of their former manager Mark Sampson and the controversy surrounding allegations made by their team-mate Eni Aluko, who was again passed over yesterday for selection for the national side.
It is understood the players are considering releasing a joint statement in order to address several concerns they have as a group. The meeting, held in Manchester on Monday, was attended by players based in the North, with those in the South passing on observations.
Aluko was left out of the England squad by interim manager Mo Marley yesterday ahead of the World Cup qualifiers against Bosnia and Kazakhstan, despite scoring five goals in seven appearances for Chelsea.
Sampson was sacked by the Football Association in September in the wake of allegations of bullying, harassment and racism made by Aluko. He was dismissed because of allegations of improper relations with a player when he was a coach at Bristol Academy, before he became England manager.
A third investigation into Aluko’s allegations, sparked when new evidence was presented to independent barrister Katharine Newton, subsequently decided that he had used racist language towards both her and team-mate Drew Spence.
The PFA acted on behalf of Aluko, vehemently criticising the way the FA handled the investigation into her allegations. Aluko alleged in an interview with the BBC last week that she had not had support from her former team-mates and had no contact with any of them, other than those who also play for Chelsea.
She also claimed their response would have been different if she had been a victim of homophobic abuse and suggested they needed to be re-educated when it comes to racism and the impact it has on victims. However, the 30-year-old has apologised for criticising her former team-mates for celebrating their first goal against Russia in a World Cup qualifier with Sampson the day before he was sacked.
Meanwhile, Marley has given first senior calls-ups to Manchester City’s Keira Walsh and Arsenal’s Leah Williamson, who played for her in the Under-19 team. Manchester City goalkeeper Karen Bardsley returns from injury.
The Lionesses will face Bosnia at Walsall on Nov 24 and Kazakhstan at Colchester on Nov 28.