Lianne Sanderson believes FA ‘forgot about’ her in tribute to former Lionesses

Lianne Sanderson believes the FA “forgot about” her and other former England players, calling out the governing body in an emotional post on social media. The striker Sanderson earned 50 caps for her country but was not among the large group of past players who marched pitchside at half-time during England’s 2-1 victory over the USA at Wembley on Friday night.

The 34-year-old pundit took to Twitter on Saturday claiming she had not received an invite and noting her name had been misspelled in the programme. She wrote: “At this point I can’t say I’m surprised. All I can say is I’m sick of the hurt the systematic abuse has caused me throughout the years. They forgot about me before and many times before that and last night was just another example.

“All former Lionesses were invited to Wembley last night, got many souvenirs of their time playing for England, of which I’m happy for them about, especially after raising this issue at the Houses of Parliament four years ago.

“When asked what the FA can do? My response, don’t make former players feel like they are forgotten about and I wasn’t talking about myself. A lot of former players feel that way played for England. Now look everyone was invited accept [sic] me. That makes sense. I retired because a sport I loved so much wasn’t showing me love back. These are some of the reasons.

“Then to spell my name wrong in the programme and on the big screen, they forgot about my 50th cap. So at least allow me some moments to be proud of. I’ve created a career in media myself, no handouts or help from anyone after being ostracised for telling the truth and I will continue to do so.

“I’m happy all my former teammates enjoyed their evening, that makes me happy. But this has left me so upset yet again. Thank you to those that continue to support me. My circle is tight.”

The FA announced plans to welcome former Lionesses to the USA match in early September to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first official England Women fixture, the invitations the culmination of a research project that had taken several years to compile.

While Sanderson’s name was correctly spelled in a list of all the England players identified to date, it is misspelled in a feature highlighting the 12 top trans-Atlantic talents in England and USA history.

An FA spokesperson said: “We are sorry. We invited Lianne, along with more than 200 former players, to last night’s celebrations but she didn’t receive it. We have been in touch with her representatives to explain. We also apologise for her name being misspelt in the programme. With 50 caps, Lianne is an England great and deserves full recognition for the service she gave to the national team.”

It is understood that Sanderson was not the only former player who said they did not receive an invitation to Friday’s celebration, and that the FA acknowledges there may well be more past Lionesses their research has not yet uncovered.

While the programme does recognise Sanderson’s half-century of caps for England, the former Arsenal and Chelsea forward has previously stated the FA did not do enough to acknowledge her 50th cap when it was achieved.

In October 2017, she gave evidence alongside Eniola Aluko at a parliamentary inquiry into allegations of racism within the game and comments made by the former Lionesses manager Mark Sampson that resulted in scrutiny of his behaviour and the Football Association’s handling of the complaints.

Sampson’s contract was terminated by the FA in September 2017, before Sanderson and Aluko gave testimony in parliament, over what it said in a statement was “clear evidence of inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour by a coach” during his time at Bristol Academy.

The October 2017 investigation found Sampson made racially discriminatory remarks to Aluko and fellow player Drew Spence in what were described as “ill-judged attempts at humour”. Sanderson last appeared for England in 2015, and has said on multiple occasions she has felt “ostracised” as a result of her testimony.