By Alex Dibble – @alex_dibble
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
The Football Association has dealt with another case of abuse since the Eni Aluko affair, it’s been revealed.
Chairman Greg Clarke said: “We have had one other event in the last twelve months like that. The whistleblowing processes worked. People came forward to support the accuser and we got to justice and fairness a lot more quickly.“
Speaking at an event at Wembley, Clarke did not reveal the identity of any of the parties in the more recent case.
In October 2017 former England women’s manager Mark Sampson was found guilty of racially abusing Eni Aluko and her teammate Drew Spence, prompting an apology from the FA to both players.
The handling of their complaints was also criticised, as two inquiries had cleared Sampson of wrongdoing.
Mr Clarke added: “I learnt a very painful lesson taught to me by a very brave black female footballer last year, which was: a lot of well-meaning people can make some very very very bad mistakes when it comes to inclusion and diversity.”
Following the scandal the FA developed a new whistleblowing policy in conjunction with UK Sport, which has been shared with other sporting governing bodies.
Mr Clarke claims it was this initiative that provided protection for the accuser in the more recent case.
Full extract from Greg Clarke’s speech:
“I learnt a very painful lesson – taught to me by a very brave black female footballer last year, which was – a lot of well meaning people can make some very very very bad mistakes when it comes to inclusion and diversity.
“We had a situation where we didn’t have in place whistleblowing protocols that allowed people to come forward and feel safe in reporting bad behaviour.
“That’s not a great place to be and we said ‘ok we’ve got ourselves in this position because no-one felt safe to come forward and substantiate the allegations’. That wasn’t the fault of the accuser because she was right. It wasn’t the fault of the people who didn’t back her up, because they were worried about selection and employment.
“And we learnt a really painful lesson that good, well-meaning people who are focussed on inclusivity – unless they the right best-practice whistleblowing processes, unless they have the right expertise, unless they have the right targets, unless they have the right oversight and scrutiny, can make bad decisions.
“When we went to Sport UK and Sport England and said, ‘Could you give us the whistleblowing protocols that the other sports governing bodies use?’ they said, ‘They haven’t got any either’.
“So we worked with Sport UK and Sport England to put those whistleblowing protocols in place and share them with the other national governing bodies to make sure that if anything like that did happen again.. .and we have had one other event in the last twelve months like that.
“The whistleblowing processes worked. People came forward to support the accuser and we got to justice and fairness a lot more quickly.”