Eni Aluko accepts Nikita Parris' apology over Mark Sampson support

Aluko: "I moved on and appreciate the self-reflection for Nikita to move on too. Most importantly, black women should always strive for unity, not division."

Eni Aluko
Image: Eni Aluko spoke out over racially discriminatory remarks she received from then-England boss Mark Sampson

Eni Aluko has accepted Nikita Parris' apology for showing support to former England Women boss Mark Sampson, urging black women to "strive for unity not division".

Lyon forward Parris took to social media to offer an apology to her former team-mate after celebrating her opening goal with Sampson during a 6-0 win over Russia in September 2017 - despite allegations of discrimination made by then Chelsea and England striker Aluko against the coach.

Although Sampson was initially cleared, the FA later apologised to Aluko and team-mate Drew Spence for the racially discriminatory remarks.

The Russia game was Sampson's final one in charge of the Lionesses, coming a day before he was sacked for a separate incident involving "inappropriate and unacceptable" behaviour with female players in a previous role.

Responding to Parris' open letter, Aluko tweeted: "Although I'm yet to speak with Nikita, I acknowledge and accept this apology. Thanks.

"After a very difficult moment three years ago, I moved on and appreciate the self-reflection for Nikita to move on too. Most importantly, black women should always strive for unity, not division."

Parris was compelled to apologise following a period of self-reflection in light of the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement which is encouraging people to speak out against racism.

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Parris wrote: "It showed a lack of empathy, understanding and ignorance by singling out a voice who needed an ear to listen and a support system to help.

"After a lot of growth, maturity and education I am now able to understand how I have been part of the problem which I aim to fight and eradicate."

'They don't realise how much that hurt'

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Former England forward Lianne Sanderson says the decision by England players to celebrate with Mark Sampson following allegations of racism in 2017 still hurts

Speaking on Sky Sports News' The Football Show last week about her experiences of racism in the game, former England forward Lianne Sanderson said: "Everyone knows what Eniola Aluko went through and that wasn't a nice moment for anyone.

"The players scored and they celebrated with Mark Sampson and that still makes me sick to my stomach to think about now.

"I don't think the girls realised how much that hurt myself, Eni and Anita [Asante]. It almost became them against us when it didn't need to be that way.

"I definitely think the girls could have done more in that situation. I don't hold it against them but this comes down to enabling. Those girls didn't think they'd be picked again if they went against him.

"After a few conversations with the players, they say they didn't really know what was going on."

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