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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

FA chief Martin Glenn: Women less able to handle 'banter' than men

Speaking to a UK parliamentary committee, former England footballer Eni Aluko says that FA chief exec Martin Glenn asked her to write 'a statement saying the FA were not institutionally racist' in order to receive the 2nd part of her financial settlement

Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn has said female footballers are less able to handle "banter" than their male counterparts.

Glenn's comments, which came as the FA announced several initiatives to boost diversity throughout the game, follow on from the controversy surrounding Eni Aluko

Aluko had complained that then-England Women manager Mark Sampson had told her to make sure her family "don't come over with Ebola" when informed they were visiting from Nigeria.

Aluko had made a financial agreement with the FA that the two parties would not defame each other following her complaints. The FA, having initially objected to a tweet she sent in August after news of her dispute with Sampson became public knowledge, finally backed down and paid her £40,000 in lost earnings in October.

Sampson, who was sacked over unrelated behaviour from his time at Bristol Academy, was eventually found to have used discriminatory language to Aluko and teammate Drew Spence after three inquiries.

Explaining the FA's new guidelines, Glenn told reporters on Tuesday: "I think it's recognising that there are significant difference in women's elite sport and men's, and one of the things that really caught us out in the case of Eniola Aluko was that we were slow to realise that -- because effectively the women's team are like employees of the FA, unlike the men's team, because of the [employment] contracts, because of their ability to claim for unfair dismissal and employment tribunals."

He added: "But also I think culturally what women will be prepared to put up with has been a bit different from guys, so we think to really make the off-field culture, the whistle-blowing procedures, the new coaching guidelines, the grievance procedures really, work, it's a big piece of work."

Pressed on his remark about what women will be prepared to put up with, he said: "I think in terms ... I guess banter would be a case in point. Now our grievance and whistle-blowing procedures are common across men's and women's teams. Our coaching guidelines are common across men's and women's teams. But I think it's fair to say is what we've seen is there are probably some differences in what they would expect to hear or say."

In November, Lee Kendall resigned as England Women's goalkeeping coach despite an FA investigation concluding that no further action should be taken against him. Kendall had called Aluko "lazy as f---" while wearing a microphone for video analysis of a match against Finland in 2014, and the player alleged that he would speak to her in a Caribbean accent.

Aluko, who earned 102 England caps, has not featured for her country since 2016 when she made the allegations of bullying.

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