Super Eagles forward Sone Aluko’s older sister, Eniola who’s also a professional footballer with Chelsea Ladies, has been paid up to £40,000 by the English Football Association after she claimed she had to quit the national team because of bullying although officials claim the pay-off was to avoid disruption of the national team’s programme and not to buy her silence.
Aluko has not played for England since April 2016, blaming staff who would 'undermine and belittle' players but the FA conducted an internal review and an independent investigation into the allegations which found no wrong-doing by England manager Mark Sampson or his staff.
However, after the investigation was concluded in March this year, the FA still gave the 30-year-old forward a new £20,000 contract, despite her saying she was not available to play 'under his [Sampson’s] management' and an extra £40,000 and asked to sign a confidentiality agreement.
Aluko, in an eight-page complaint according to Daily Mail, detailed two years of 'bullying and harassment', claiming her treatment had forced her to quit. She gave seven specific accounts in what is described as a 'non-exhaustive' list and also claimed 'other England players, past and present' had suffered 'negative personal experiences'.
The striker said unfavourable treatment from FA staff began in February 2014, a month after Sampson was appointed head coach.
Aluko added: 'It is inevitable that such damaging behaviour… has influenced… staff and teammates to be empowered to also attempt to undermine and belittle. I submit that this is the basis of a culture of bullying and harassment. I am concerned that this culture of behaviour could be extended to current players or England players in the future.'
The FA said in a statement: 'The detailed independent investigation report did not uphold any of Eniola Aluko's complaints and found no wrong-doing on behalf of The FA or others. Notwithstanding the independent investigation's findings, the FA agreed a mutual resolution so as to avoid disruption to the squad's tournament preparations. It was not to prevent disclosure.'
Aluko was top scorer in the league last season and boasts 33 goals for England in 102 caps.