FA backs down, pays Eni Aluko money owed for lost earnings
The Football Association has paid Eni Aluko the £40,000 it was withholding after a dispute over a tweet she sent in August about ex-England women's team manager Mark Sampson.
Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor confirmed the payment had been made soon after Aluko appeared last week before a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee hearing on the FA's handling of her 2016 complaint against Sampson.
"She's gone through a lot. I'm pleased to say a couple of days after [evidence in Parliament] they paid the second and final instalment," Taylor told Sky Sports on Thursday. "But there's a lot of areas in this issue that weren't satisfactory and we need to get these right."
The FA objected to a tweet she sent in August after news of her dispute with Sampson, who she had accused of bullying and racism, became public knowledge.
She wrote: "At least we now know the FA's stance on derogatory racial remarks by an England manager. Ignore, deny, endorse. In that order."
Speaking to the panel of MPs last week, Aluko said she was contacted by FA chief executive Martin Glenn and told that the tweet was a breach of their June agreement not to defame each other.
In a move she described as "bordering on blackmail," the England and Chelsea star said Glenn told her she would get the second half of the £80,000 settlement if she agreed to write a statement which cleared the FA of institutional racism.
Glenn, who also appeared before the DCMS committee, later disputed this claim but admitted the FA and its legal advisers considered Aluko's tweet to be a breach of their deal and something she should correct.
Brokered by the Professional Footballers' Association, the settlement was compensation for loss of future earnings.
Having scored 33 goals in 102 appearances for her country, Aluko was dropped by the Welshman in May 2016 and has not played for England since, despite being the top scorer in the Women's Super League.
An internal FA investigation cleared Sampson of Aluko's claims last October, before an independent barrister reviewed the case and came to the same conclusion this February.
Despite these findings, the FA agreed to settle Aluko's complaint rather than risk a tribunal and it was mutually decided she would receive the money in two instalments: the first to be paid before this summer's European Championships, which saw Aluko work as a pundit for Channel 4, and the second after the tournament.
Any claim the FA had to the moral high ground in the dispute, however, was completely lost when the independent barrister reopened her investigation in September and revised her findings to say Sampson did make racist remarks to Aluko in 2014 and teammate Drew Spence in 2015.
Furthermore, serious flaws in the initial investigations into Aluko's complaint were highlighted and the FA was forced to admit that Sampson should have never have been hired in the first place after it eventually sacked him in September for inappropriate behaviour in his previous job.
Glenn and FA chairman Greg Clarke have since apologised to Aluko, Spence and other players who raised grievances about Sampson, and spent the last week fighting for their jobs in the face of intense criticism from inside and outside the game.