Author Topic: Harrassment & bullying in football / Allegations  (Read 5693 times)

Offline sbahnhof

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Harrassment & bullying in football / Allegations
« on: August 12, 2017, 07:18:52 AM »
A survey reports that huge numbers of top-level female footballers are unpaid or quit early, and the study uncovered darker secrets. FIFpro interviewed more than 3,000 women's football players worldwide, and the full results will be published later in 2017:

- https://www.vavel.com/en/football/womens-football/814907-fifpros-womens-football-survey-causes-deep-concerns.html

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3.5% (115 respondents) reported sexual harassment. Experiencing sexual harassment by coaching staff, fellow players and other staff working in football. With 5.4% of players reporting, experiencing homophobia. ... Of the 505 people surveyed [in 2016 in a UK report], 61% witnessed sexism, 24% had suffered bullying and 14.8% of respondents claimed they had been victim of sexual harassment.

The announcement was made at a conference with Hedvig Lindahl and Hope Solo in Hoofddorp, Netherlands - https://twitter.com/CarreJonsson/status/894685748863148032



Coincidentally, this week we finally found out why Eni Aluko left the England women's team, and the nature of her complaint against the FA. There were allegations of bullying and harrassment by England staff and Mark Sampson.

The FA's investigation has concluded there is no case to answer, but the association paid her compensation of at least £40,000:

- http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/40850231

- http://www.espnfc.com/womens-european-championship/story/3174569/fa-and-mark-sampson-cleared-over-grievance-raised-by-englands-eniola-aluko (Archive.org page)

- https://twitter.com/EniAlu/status/894812840657342465 (Archive.org page)

Herman Ouseley of Kick It Out has also called on the FA to give more information on what has gone on:

- https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/aug/07/eni-aluko-herman-ouseley-england-women-mark-sampson-fa


Eni Aluko playing for England in 2014
(pic: James Boyes, cc-by)
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« Last Edit: August 20, 2017, 12:14:36 AM by sbahnhof »

coey

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Re: Harrassment and bullying in football
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2017, 08:15:59 AM »
For the integrity of female football the 'Eni Aluko' needs clarity.
Why the payout and the ongoing payout that is taking money out of the game.
Perhaps Aluko should decline her England retainer .

As for England coaches, they only ever see work rate and cant see much else in the game.

Offline sbahnhof

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Re: Harrassment and bullying in football
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2017, 05:21:03 AM »
For the integrity of female football the 'Eni Aluko' needs clarity.
Why the payout and the ongoing payout that is taking money out of the game.
Perhaps Aluko should decline her England retainer .

As for England coaches, they only ever see work rate and cant see much else in the game.


Dan Critchlow came close to asking the $64,000 question:

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The FA claim that this payment was simply to avoid any disruption to the team at the tournament, but it hardly seems standard practice  to make payments to people who might talk about unsettling topics.

The FA blatantly "bought" good PR by paying Aluko, which ironically looks like really bad PR for them. Now the story's getting way out of the FA's control:

- https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/aug/16/eni-aluko-fa-under-pressure-explain-money

- http://sport.bt.com/football/england-women-boss-mark-sampson-alleged-to-have-made-racial-remark-to-player-S11364204511213 (Archive page)

- https://twitter.com/LHigginswal/status/897926481732665344


About Sampson, the big news is oh god he's an idiot:

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[Mark Sampson, talking to a midfielder about bookings and cautions: ‘Haven’t you been arrested before? Four times isn’t it?’]

[Aluko's statement:] “This comment about the player was made with derogatory, racial and prejudicial connotations. It was also a defamatory, untrue statement given that the player has never been arrested and MS’s comment indicates an assumption (subconscious or conscious) that being mixed race from London suggests a criminal record with the police.

“Although I was not present at the meeting, other players confirmed MS made this comment. Other players confirmed the comment was not received as a joke and created an awkward atmosphere in the room. I was deeply concerned about this comment and felt it was highly inappropriate for the national team coach to make such a sweeping negative generalisation about a new player in the team.”

Publicly, Aluko has stated only that she believes team selections were made on the basis of “popularity” rather than form. However, privately the player who has won 102 caps for her country appears to have felt like she was the victim of sustained bullying and alleges the unfavourable treatment began a month after Sampson’s appointment in April 2014. [sic]

Drawing a link to the alleged incident, Aluko’s complaint continued: “As a black female in the team, understanding the unfavourable, racial and social connotations underlying MS’s comment further heightened my feelings of fear and isolation, especially in light of the previous instances where I have been negatively singled out, too.”



I've copied the entire section, not because we need a long boring debate on Sampson and his 'jokes'. The problem is wider than that. Things like coaching staff merrily dismissing Aluko as "lazy", without thinking about how they'd be seen as stereotyping her. That's even if there wasn't any racism intended. It's still a big problem in attitudes. (And for some white people there's a strong desire not to see racism, to avoid having to think about it.)

Other problems have been plain to see – the favouritism in the squad, and the sidelining of Aluko for non-football reasons in 2016. No way was Spacey's "promotion" in June the full story either.

Nobody can blame Aluko for taking money from the FA. Arguing over amounts and "how much" is missing the point. The questions are why, what happened, and how can they stop this from happening again?
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Offline sbahnhof

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Re: Harrassment & bullying in football
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2017, 12:47:58 PM »

It's getting very interesting. Obviously necessary not to let your negative feelings about Sampson or Aluko have too much influence on your judgement, but we all knew that.

Appropriately enough, the FA seems to have been recording everything Watergate tapes-style. According to the lawyer Katharine Newton, who examined the case, the "arrest" comment wasn't made. Others disagree:

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Aluko had described her team-mate as “distressed” and other sources have told the Guardian the same. At least one other player who was with England during the China Cup in 2015 said she believed the comment was made.

Plenty of new reports have emerged since yesterday, even including Newton's 15-page letter ??? Bear in mind, this matter was conducted privately for a long time, but not anymore:

- https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/aug/17/eni-aluko-hush-money-case-fa-bows-to-pressure-and-reveals-findings
- http://www.thefa.com/news/2017/aug/17/fa-statement-170817
- independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/mark-sampson-england-womens-racism-racial-abuse-eni-aluko-football-association-a7899101.html
- http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/40962526
- http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/40968909

Seems like the FA are praying for this to blow over, and possibly setting Sampson up for a fall. But any problems in treatment or attitude, if they exist in the England camp, won't be confined to him. And the £80,000 compensation is a real head-scratcher. It goes beyond "keeping the peace" by keeping Aluko on a contract.
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Offline sbahnhof

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Re: Harrassment & bullying in football
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2017, 02:02:46 PM »

Well, now we're getting to the nub of it:


FA facing calls for greater transparency after Eni Aluko payment
- www.theguardian.com/football/2017/aug/17/fa-greater-transparency-eni-aluko-case


I doubt there'll be much transparency, but the fact of FA flaws being discussed, publicly in the media, is valuable. We all know the flaws are there - especially in their PR obsession.

Offline sbahnhof

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Re: Harrassment & bullying in football
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2017, 04:00:42 AM »

How many players will publicly denounce England/Sampson before it officially becomes "bad for business"? What's the FA's limit? Maybe we'll find out.

This is all pretty unusual. Usually the women's football media go easy on the FA.

The women speaking out about the England camp are not the ones on trial here. The FA are. Even if the stories weren't true, the FA's actions would still be suspect and weird. The women's football media know this. They aren't holding back this time. Journalists are digging, maybe because they know there's more to tell.

Lianne Sanderson's interview today (also quote from Anita Asante) isn't radically new and surprising, but, well... Are you surprised that England had a noticeboard telling players what to say in postmatch interviews?

'Everyone must conform with England'
- www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/40979890


Race is not mentioned. The players the BBC quoted happen to be black and mixed-race, as the media are choosing to present it this way in the wake of Aluko's comments. But their claims are mostly about players' media training – Sanderson says players were "robots" with no opinions allowed – and she and Asante talk about how the squad atmosphere was handled. They say that dropped players felt singled out. This was seen clearly when Casey Stoney was dropped as England captain:

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When Mark Sampson appointed Steph Houghton as his new captain, Stoney found out from the TV and admits she struggled with the decision.

She feels she was playing well and had done little wrong.

“Yeah (I disliked him) if I’m honest. He knows that, he knows the first six months I wasn’t his best friend. It was a really tough time for me,” she said.

“And I have a fantastic relationship with him now, and I don’t think I’d be there if I hadn’t gone through that to start with. It was a test.

“And I’m a big believer in those moments making you as a person. The minute I switched the TV off I went ‘right, what am I going to do?’ I can walk away, but no I’ll dictate when I retire because it’s my career and I’m in control of it.”

Great communication, Mark

At this stage the term "bullying" seems overly strong, but there's an impression of an authoritarian management style. This is actually the exact opposite of how Sampson presents the squad dynamic – he says criticism is encouraged, and decisions are taken in a close-knit group. They've prided themselves on how together the squad has been.

It's possible both are partly true. The criticism cuts both ways, the squad gets cliquey, and others feel left-out. Such an atmosphere would probably be hard to get rid of, even with a different manager. Anyway it's the weekend now. No news is reported over a weekend, surely?

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Offline Welsh May

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Re: Harrassment & bullying in football
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2017, 09:50:28 AM »
I am not sure I have a particular problem with the team being asked to conform as such to the key messages for the squad. Most interviews with sports persons nowadays are stage managed and often they're given team soundbites. It's the same with industry, primarily to keep 'selling' your product or your building public confidence in the product?. And generally it works to create an impression and strengthens the belief both of the company or in the product. You need to be on message. So that part doesn't bother me so much and for me would make me think players are somewhat naïve if they don't get the business element ...... but may again be about how that requirement has been communicated to the players. Whatever.
What concerns me reading all about this, are the undertones about communications and racism and sometimes it is very difficult to categorically say something is racist when it's subtle or unclear. But it is easy to identify if something has been communicated poorly i.e. the Stoney example. The fact she didn't/did like Sampson is irrelevant to me, but the communication over the captaincy was poor. If his communication is less than perfect surely that opens the door to presume some of his other communications were also of poorer standard. The use of the word lazy is an interesting example given she has a point that certain words are aligned to certain people and more freely used and more likely to be applied?. Rather than saying Aluko is 'having an off game' or 'whys she really not with it today', 'Aluko needs to get more involved in the game', the bog standard comments us football pundits make, instead the term 'lazy' was applied instead. Then that's racism or discrimination in my mind?. So I found that an interesting outcome to the investigation .........

Offline croc

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Re: Harrassment & bullying in football / Allegations
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2017, 10:06:29 AM »
Whilst I accept that players have to be professional I do have a problem with it players are expected to conform to such an extent that it creates a climate where players don't feel free to voice opinions.  My other sport is cycling and I do feel in that - talking about the GB squad - women who voice critical opinions tend to be branded as "difficult" and edged out.  The important thing is the machine and the athletes are cogs who can be replaced at the whim of a coach.  Is there a similar culture in the England womens football set up ?

Would the England men be expected to come out with certain messages and sound bites, obviously they get media training these days but would men be expected to conform quite so much?   I get the impression in cycling Chris Hoy was treated very differently to say Victoria Pendleton - the former working with coaches the latter working for them.

Obviously football is a team game but there needs to be space for individual opinions and different characters.   The FA seem very much an organisation that believe in their way or the highway right down to the England DNA stuff.  Perhaps the way the senior team is run is symptomatic of why we are producing robotic footballers.

Offline WFA

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Re: Harrassment & bullying in football / Allegations
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2017, 01:44:34 PM »
Obviously football is a team game but there needs to be space for individual opinions and different characters.   The FA seem very much an organisation that believe in their way or the highway right down to the England DNA stuff.  Perhaps the way the senior team is run is symptomatic of why we are producing robotic footballers.

 :-X

Offline sbahnhof

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Re: Harrassment & bullying in football / Allegations
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2017, 07:55:51 PM »
The women speaking out about the England camp are not the ones on trial here. The FA are. Even if the stories weren't true, the FA's actions would still be suspect and weird.

Can't stress that enough.

Some cryptic tweets by Emma Byrne in reaction to the claims. And "I should write a book" ???

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« Last Edit: August 20, 2017, 08:02:01 PM by sbahnhof »

Offline croc

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Re: Harrassment & bullying in football / Allegations
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2017, 10:30:08 PM »
Obviously football is a team game but there needs to be space for individual opinions and different characters.   The FA seem very much an organisation that believe in their way or the highway right down to the England DNA stuff.  Perhaps the way the senior team is run is symptomatic of why we are producing robotic footballers.

 :-X

?

Offline sbahnhof

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Re: Harrassment & bullying in football / Allegations
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2017, 10:47:57 PM »
I have removed a couple of posts I didn't feel were very helpful to the discussion.

Please remember you are responsible for what you post. Thanks

Offline sbahnhof

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Re: Harrassment & bullying in football / Allegations
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2017, 04:50:17 AM »

Aluko says the 7 August story in the Daily Mail (based on a leaked document) wasn't her doing, and she's doing interviews now that she's been legally advised she can discuss details.

Media focusing on the alleged "ebola" comment which wasn't in her initial complaint. Shocking if true, hard to prove, but the FA could still come out of this looking worst imo.

- https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/aug/21/eni-aluko-interview-race-difficult-situation
- https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/aug/21/eni-aluko-england-manager-mark-sampson-ebola
- http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/40995165

The FA's investigations seem at odds with key information from other players who weren't interviewed. The FA allegedly paid Aluko a financial settlement to avoid going to court for an employment tribunal. Either because they feared they'd lose, or in their own words, "to avoid disruption". (How would they describe the current events?)

Apparently, the FA brought this all on themselves. They held an England players' "culture review" in May 2016.

The circumstances of Aluko being dropped from the squad are one of the main details, perhaps the crucial new information. We knew she played as sub against Belgium on 8 Apr 2016 and the full game in Bosnia on 12 April. She was dropped entirely from the squad announced on 25 May 2016 for the Serbia game.

In that time, she says, she had raised her complaints about the team dynamic in that FA review, supposed to be anonymous. A week later Sampson told her she was dropped.

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When I asked why he said it was because of ‘unlioness behaviour’. ... The best he could come up with was that I had looked withdrawn in meetings.

On BBC she recalls it as she "wasn't abiding by 'Lioness standards'", but ‘unlioness behaviour’... that's the worst phrase I've heard so far :'(

Within days of this, she says, the FA investigated her work as a sports agency lawyer, which she had to give up although it hadn't been an issue until then. The allegation of being bullied out of the squad by England and the FA is pretty convincing. It will require another investigation. Or heads to roll. She names other black players who've been mysteriously shunned, and says she wants "better transparency and a better realisation that this might happen again, and when it happens again it needs be dealt with in a better way". Which most people would agree with.
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coey

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Re: Harrassment & bullying in football / Allegations
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2017, 07:45:59 AM »
Having seen the interviews and read the links.
I am with the FA apart from paying out for 4 years losss of earnings.

Offline sbahnhof

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Re: Harrassment & bullying in football / Allegations
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2017, 07:52:28 AM »

That's not why they paid it. Even the FA said that's not why they paid it.

Offline croc

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Re: Harrassment & bullying in football / Allegations
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2017, 09:08:37 AM »
I'm struggling to see that Aluko has anything on Sampson other than that he's made some clumsy jokes.   When he says he has to improve his communication skills he seems to mean he shouldn't assume a level of familiarity with his players that they may not reciprocate. 

If the FA have used a confidential process against Aluko then that is different - presumably any compensation paid has been because that should not have happened ?

coey

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Re: Harrassment & bullying in football / Allegations
« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2017, 12:21:19 PM »
I'm struggling to see that Aluko has anything on Sampson other than that he's made some clumsy jokes.   When he says he has to improve his communication skills he seems to mean he shouldn't assume a level of familiarity with his players that they may not reciprocate. 



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Offline Dr Gonzo

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Re: Harrassment & bullying in football / Allegations
« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2017, 02:47:07 PM »
According to Eni's twitter the £80 grand was on the lines of an out of court settlement it seems her legal team felt that they would have had a good case at a tribunal... Sampson was cleared of wrong doing in the course of independent inquiries but they tend to be politically motivate (which is why Grenfell will be a public inquiry and not an inquest).  Certainly he thinks he's this great comic and its so painfully clear that he isn't, indeed if Bernie Winters had become a football manager he would have been way funnier than Sampson.  Even knowing a person really well it would be unlikely that jokes about Ebola would go down too well.  ..The fact that he has acknowledged he has to improve his 'communication skills' shows that there is a problem....certainly the whole thing is now a bloody mess... 


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Offline sbahnhof

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Re: Harrassment & bullying in football / Allegations
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2017, 08:53:39 PM »

FA close ranks, because, well, they have to. Sampson has the support of current England players. He'll address the case during the next squad announcement:

- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2017/08/22/fa-continue-back-mark-sampson-despite-fresh-allegations-racism/ (Archive page)

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[Gordon Taylor, PFA] told Telegraph Sport any new inquiry should be led by a QC or barrister jointly appointed by both the FA and PFA. That is a view endorsed by Former FA director of corporate affairs, Simon Johnson, now chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council. Johnson’s remit at the FA included anti-discrimination matters.

“It’s clearly an unsatisfactory situation where you have the alleged victim very dissatisfied with the process and the governing body perfectly satisfied with the process,” Johnson said.


Offline sbahnhof

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Re: Harrassment & bullying in football / Allegations
« Reply #19 on: August 24, 2017, 11:25:53 PM »

I was sad that some people still think there's nothing wrong and "innocent until proven innocent". But Coey's post from Tuesday has made that whole opinion just seem comical.

Hey, it's only a potential whitewash of possible bullying and corruption. But my spidey senses told me the FA were honest :D