09 June 2020

Former England striker Eni Aluko confident football can lead the way in battle against racism

Former Chelsea and England forward Eni Aluko believes football can be at the forefront of the battle against racism and has called on UEFA to hand out harsher punishments on those guilty of racist behaviour.

Aluko was subject to discriminatory racial remarks from former England head coach Mark Sampson for which she received an apology from the FA in 2017.

She has since been a staunch advocate for stamping out racism in the game and beyond.

The FA apologised to Aluko following Mark Sampson's comments (EMPICS Sport)

Speaking on The Football Show, the 33 year-old, who boasts 102 International caps, highlighted the diversity of the Premier League and how this can be expanded to the wider community.

“Football can set a really good example,” said the Aston Villa women’s sporting director.

“We have players in the Premier League from all over the world. Dressing rooms are multicultural, managers are multicultural," she added.

She then called for the sport to use this platform as a template for others.

“Football should lead the way in terms of how it punishes racism,” she said.

“I've said this many times before, the minute the likes of UEFA come down really hard on racism, it won't happen as often."

Aluko has called for tougher punishments for racist behaviour (PA)

She also acknowledged the widespread support for the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of George Floyd’s death and was hopeful it would bring about permanent change both in sport and beyond.

“It's been really pleasing. All I hope is it's not just a social media campaign or PR exercise,” she said.

"I hope it's something where a line has been drawn in the sand and from this point onwards, people really take these serious, disappointing issues around race and in sport seriously.

“That's the only way change is going to happen.”

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