Aluko praised for 'commitment to truth' as goalkeeping coach probed

English FA's chief demands were 'bordering on blackmail' (2:42)

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 (2:42)

Eni Aluko has been praised by Women in Football for her "immense courage" and "commitment to unearthing the truth" as England Women's goalkeeping coach Lee Kendall faces a Football Association investigation after being accused of repeatedly addressing her in a Caribbean accent.

Earlier this week, Chelsea forward Aluko told a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee hearing into her allegations of bullying and racism that the England women's goalkeeping coach put on the accent when speaking to her.

Former Wales Under-21 international Kendall was appointed as England Women's goalkeeping coach in 2014, shortly after Mark Sampson became manager.

An FA statement said: "The FA can confirm it is investigating England Women goalkeeping coach Lee Kendall following new evidence that came to light on Wednesday, alleging unacceptable behaviour towards Eniola Aluko during an England camp."

Aluko told MPs how her relationship with Sampson and his staff had deteriorated to the point at which the FA paid her an £80,000 settlement for loss of future earnings because she would never play for him again.

In a statement, Women in Football said: "We applaud her commitment to unearthing the truth, her fortitude throughout and her vision to make football a better place for others.

"It is appalling that her efforts saw a stellar playing career derailed by the very system that was meant to protect her.

For Women in Football, now in our 10th year, this is an all-too-familiar narrative for female whistleblowers and victims of discrimination in the football industry."

The organisation said a survey had shown that more than 60 percent of women had witnessed sexism in the workplace but fewer than one in 10 would report it because of fears they would not be taken seriously.

The statement said the problems were "long-standing and entrenched" and added: "Women deserve to be listened to, respected and supported. Football will be a better place for it."

It urged the FA to "create meaningful change" by making "a heartfelt commitment to bold action within the governing body."

The Equality and Human Rights Commission warned that the FA "risks losing public confidence" over its handling of the situation.

In a statement, executive director Alastair Pringle said: "If players of all races, religions and backgrounds do not feel supported and protected, football cannot be considered a sport for all.

"The FA risks losing public confidence if it does not eradicate discrimination and forge an open and transparent culture to demonstrate that athletes' well-being is prioritised."

Meanwhile, Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor said the players' union had received messages of support after being attacked by FA chairman Greg Clarke.

On Wednesday, Clarke told MPs he would "not take any lectures from the PFA on governance," alleging that it was letting down survivors of abuse while paying its bosses huge salaries.

Committee members ordered Clarke to stick to the matter at hand, and Taylor told Press Association Sport the PFA had received "messages of support from all members of the football family including FA councillors and, most importantly, child abuse victims."

He added: "They were fuming with the FA chairman for his untrue comments and grateful for the help they've received from us compared to the FA, which seemed more interested in safeguarding the FA than Eni Aluko."

Clarke's comments came when he was asked by the committee to explain a dismissive email he sent to the PFA when the union wrote to him and three other FA executives last November with details of the allegations made by Aluko.

The PFA document explained her case, providing what it called "incontrovertible evidence" that an internal FA review into her complaint was a "sham" and accusing the governing body of sabotaging her England career in order to protect Sampson.

Clarke replied by asking the sender: "I've no idea why you are sending me this. Perhaps you could enlighten me?"

The FA this week admitted that Sampson made "discriminatory remarks" to two England players, Aluko and Drew Spence, and offered an official apology.