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Eni Aluko calls for greater BAME representation at the top level of UK sport

Written by Konrad Ostrowski

Eni Aluko, a former England footballer, has called for an increase in BAME inclusion within sports leadership roles, recommending a target of 30%.

Aluko, who retired from her playing career in 2019 and is now sporting director at Aston Villa women, addressed MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Tuesday.

She said: “I think we need a target, 30% is a good one. Whether owners or directors like it or not, this is what the game needs to do.

Former England football team striker Eniola Aluko. Image credit NewsClick

“There’s a lot of recycling of the same people in the game and if you do something like a target or a quota, you will start to see recruitment behaviour change.”

Aluko added: “I think there has certainly been a lot of progress from when I started playing football 20-plus years ago. There was absolutely no-one I could look to in the game that looked like me, either as a woman or a black woman.

“Fast forward 20 years, we are still seeing a glass ceiling to a certain extent.”

This was not Aluko’s first time speaking to the DCMS committee, having given evidence in 2017 on how she was racially abused by the then England manager Mark Sampson.

Image credit The Telegraph

Following vindication from an independent investigation, Aluko received an apology from the FA, who she described as “dismissive” of her when she first accused Sampson of racism.

Speaking to the committee, Aluko said she hoped the FA had learned from their mistakes:

“I genuinely would like to believe that if a similar thing happened to another black player in the team today, it would be dealt with much differently.

“First of all that it wouldn’t happen but I think it would be dealt with much differently and much more independently and without conflict.”

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