Eni Aluko has incited a Twitter spat with former Chelsea team-mate Bethany England with comments made about the UK’s coronavirus furlough scheme.
The scheme sees employees put on leave receive 80 per cent of their monthly wages, up to a limit of £2,500, and has recently been extended through to October.
Aluko attracted widespread criticism with a series of tweets on Tuesday and Wednesday, including a suggestion that furloughing “is needed but has created a culture of do-nothing entitlement”.
Replying to one user, Aluko wrote: “Well unfortunately death is a daily occurence (sic) in all parts of the world before this crisis. When people were dying in other parts of the world before this crisis, did you stop working? Probably not.”
Another tweet read: “I think you are naive to think there will be people not absolutely chuffed that they are being paid until October to not go to work at jobs they hate anyway.”
Current Blues forward England, who made her international debut last year, did not direct her response directly to Aluko, but the connection was clear.
Let’s clear facts. Anyone who is on furlough has been put there not by choice. There is an unprecedented global pandemic. Thousands are DYING. These people are NOT lazy or scrounges. They are in fear for their safety/family/friends/loved ones & their income.
— Bethany England (@Bethany_Eng15) May 12, 2020
She added: “May I remind people to look in the mirror and appreciate the fortunate position they are in before blaming and shaming those who work their back sides off daily and are now left in a position where they just want to keep themselves and family safe. Have a good night everyone.”
Aluko replied: “You shouldve @td me Beth. No problem though, I’ll come to you. I didnt use the word lazy or scrounges. You did.
“I’ve always supported Furlough, not sure of the benefits for ALL long term. Btw thousands die EVERYDAY in countries that don’t have furlough as an option. Perspective.”
This week, official figures revealed 32,000 people in the UK had died due to Covid-19, though the total figure is widely reported to be much higher.
The Bank of England had warned that UK unemployment is set to double, with a grim forecast of the deepest recession in 300 years.
Wales icon Jessica Fishlock also noted her disappointment in Aluko’s comments.
Imagine thinking people on furlough are lazy. IMAGINE.
We are asking them to stay home to save lives.
In what WORLD are they lazy ??
OVER 50,000 people have DIED on a little island.
I can’t. ????????♂️
— Jessica Fishlock MBE (@JessFishlock) May 12, 2020
On Wednesday morning, Aluko apologised “for any offence caused”.
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She said: “Opening up my tweets this morning to say sorry for any offence caused by any of my tweets on furlough last night.
“The tweets that seem to have upset people the most have been deleted. I have no interest in being a source of further public upset.”
She added: “No generalisations or widespread offence was intended. Just a personal opinion on the future economy in this crisis. This account will now be private and views, as always, remain my own.”