Pressure mounts on FA over Mark Sampson sacking

Eniola Aluko
Eniola Aluko made allegations of racism and bullying against Sampson
Author

22 September, 2017

The FA said that a "safeguarding assessment" in 2015 before the World Cup determined that Sampson "did not pose a risk working in the game" but he was still told to undertake a program to "emphasize the professional boundaries appropriate to a coaching role". "To say: 'Actually was there information readily available to the FA that had they sought it out they would've terminated much earlier?' Be it Martin Glenn or whoever, if it's found that they ignored advice and warnings that were clear then I think their position does become untenable".

Yet less than 24 hours after Sampson oversaw England's 6-0 win against Russian Federation in a World Cup qualifier, he was called to the FA's Wembley headquarters to be informed his contract would be terminated with immediate effect following an historic safeguarding investigation into his conduct while he was manager of Bristol Academy.

It was this belated discovery of what Sampson had been accused of - understood to have been prompted by tip-offs from within the women's game - which led the FA to sack him.

The former Swansea City youth coach has twice been cleared over the claims made a year ago by former star Eniola Aluko concerning racial discrimination, bullying and harassment, a stance reiterated by the FA in the statement.

His last match in charge saw England beat Russian Federation 6-0 on Tuesday (September 19) in a qualifier for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France.

"However, the full report of that investigation was only brought to the attention of the current FA leadership last week and it is our judgement that it revealed clear evidence of inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour by a coach".

Mr Collins said: "They were always in possession of info which by their own admission meant Sampson should never have been in that position".

The anonymous claims against Sampson were made in March 2014, three months after he left Bristol Academy WFC to become boss of the Lionesses. But it's come to light now there were previous grave concerns raised about Mark Sampson in a separate report, yet no one checked it or read it at the FA.

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Sampson was cleared of any wrongdoing by an FA review, and a subsequent independent investigation.

Chelsea Ladies and England striker Aluko alleged that Sampson had racially abused her over a comment that he made regarding her family having the Ebola virus - a claimed that Sampson denied - and that a culture of bullying had spread under his tenure.

The first panel was comprised of technical director Dan Ashworth, managing director Adrian Bevington, director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking and women's football director Kelly Simmons.

"They didn't ask questions at the time".

The Bristol Academy allegations were far from the only knock against Sampson. "Certainly nothing surfaced at that stage that I was aware of".

Although it is not clear exactly what Sampson did, Glenn stressed that his behaviour did not reflect the type of conduct expected to be shown by an FA employee.

"No law was broken", Glenn said at a Wembley Stadium briefing.

"I think they've looked to try to get an easy way out to get rid of him and unfortunately they've made a bigger mess than it was originally".


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