Juventus Ladies of Italy Nigerian-born attacker, Eniola Aluko has come out with a stern declaration that any stadium in which fans are found to be hurling racist taunts at players should be shut as punishment.
In her latest comments about racism, which she allegedly faced during her time with England’s national team and while playing for Chelsea Ladies in the country of her birth, Aluko further advocated that matches should be played behind closed doors as punishment for racist incidents.
She has taken her verdict on racism to another level by publishing a book on her experiences, with the highlight of her views in the package titled ‘They Don’t Teach This’ revealing that the racism storm she faced with The Lionesses ultimately ended her international career with England.
Aluko recounted how much she suffered through racism, with England’s former women’s national team coach, Mark Sampson eventually offering an unreserved apology for his treatment of the ex-Chelsea striker while he was in charge of the squad should played for during her time.
Sampson was sacked in September 2017 over an unrelated issue, and his racist behaviour towards Aluko and Drew Spence was not fully admitted until January this year.
Aluko, who gave evidence at the DCMS select committee, believes football already boasts enough power within the rules to combat racism, and has called on the game’s bosses to start wielding it, and fast.
The new league season has already been awash with top players suffering racist abuse on social media, leading twitter bosses to set up a meeting with Manchester United and Kick It Out.
Chelsea banned a fan for life for racially abusing Manchester City star Raheem Sterling, but – while welcoming that approach – Aluko insisted far more must be done to stem discrimination’s rising tide.
However, the 32-year-old sister of former Super Eagles’ winger-cum-attacker, Omatsone ‘Sone’ Aluko, went on to challenge football officials and authorities in England and across the world to do way better in their efforts at combating racism at match venues.
The dark-skinned attacker, who topped the scoring charts at Juventus last term, en route to a league and cup double during her first season in Italy, posited that releasing a book on racism was meant to tell her story as well as inspire and inform the next generation of women in football.
Aluko expatiated: “I firmly believe that stadium closures need to come in, in the Premier League. You see that happen in eastern Europe.
“We’re very good at pointing fingers when it happens somewhere else, but when it happens on our doorstep you don’t really want the same punishment applying.
“It just needs to be stepped up. A behind-closed-doors Premier League match would really awaken people.
“It hasn’t happened in the Premier League. There have been quite a few racist incidents in the Premier League, but there have been no stadium closures.
“When we get to the point where people realise ‘OK, that can’t happen again’, that’s when real change happens.
“Clubs are already banning fans, which is positive, but I think there’s a group accountability that needs to come in.
“There’s a general fragility to the topic of racism that makes people very defensive and uncomfortable, but we must be open about it.
“We must all challenge ourselves against our prejudices. I think that’s the starting point.
“The authorities need to do way better, and stop pretending that they care about something when ultimately they don’t.
“If somebody tweeted a terrorist threat, that person would be found immediately. That person can be found, the tweets deleted, that person taken off Twitter, possibly arrested. So, why is it different for racism?”