Elder sister of Nigeria forward Sone Aluko, Eniola, has accused England women’s head coach Mark Sampson of disparaging and racist remarks as the controversy involving the player and coach rages.
Aluko, who has been dropped from the England team under Sampson, said the coach told her not to allow any of her family members to come and infect the rest of the team with Ebola.
Aluko made the statement in an interview she had with The Guardian on Monday.
Last week Wednesday Sampson was accused of making a remark with “racial and prejudicial connotations” to one of his players in a formal complaint against him. The player in question is believed to be Aluko.
Sampson was alleged by Aluko to have asked one of her mixed-race team-mates how many times she had been in trouble with the police.
It was revealed earlier this month Sampson had been cleared last season by an independent investigation commissioned by the Football Association, which nevertheless paid Aluko approximately £80,000 in an agreement it said was designed to “avoid disruption” ahead of this summer’s European Championship, which Aluko missed.
Giving an account of what transpired between her and Sampson, Aluko said in the interview: “We were in the hotel before the Germany game [in November 2014]. Everybody was excited. It was a big game. On the wall there was a list of the family and friends who were coming to watch us and I just happened to be next to Mark. He asked me if I had anyone who would be there and I said I had family coming over from Nigeria. ‘Oh,’ he said. ‘Nigeria? Make sure they don’t bring Ebola with them.
“I remember laughing but in a very nervous way. I went back to my room and I was really upset. It might have been easier to take if it was about me alone. Lots of things had been said about me over those two years but this was about my family. I called my mum and she was absolutely disgusted.
“Initially I didn’t put it in my report [to the FA] because I didn’t feel I could prove it and I didn’t want to make any accusations based on something I couldn’t prove.
“Subsequently, however, I found the text messages where I had talked to The Player about it. There was one where I wanted her to know: ‘You know what, it’s not only you, it’s happened to me, too.’ I’d told her what he had said. She said: ‘Wow, that is unacceptable.’ That’s subsequently been put to the FA in correspondence [from the Professional Footballers’ Association]. The FA cannot say: ‘This is the first we have been told that Mark Sampson made a statement to Eni Aluko about her family and Ebola.”