Li­onesses hold talks with PFA over Samp­son’s exit

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Football - By Luke Ed­wards Miss­ing out: Eni Aluko was omit­ted from the squad for Eng­land’s World Cup qual­i­fiers

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.

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