Sports Minister demands answers from English FA after Sampson sacking

22 September, 2017, 00:10 | Author: Felix Jensen
  • Mark Sampson

Mark Sampson has been sacked as head coach of England Women in a move that raises significant questions about the governing body.

An English Football Association (FA) statement said that when Sampson was manager of Bristol Academy in 2014 "safeguarding allegations" were made against him about his time with Bristol.

The FA said the report "revealed clear evidence of inappropriate and unacceptable behavior by a coach".

Having learned what Sampson was accused of at Bristol, the board decided it was enough to terminate his contract but not until after the game at Tranmere on Tuesday, when his players put on a very public show of support.

England were 13th in the FIFA Rankings when Sampson was appointed in December 2013 and are now fourth after reaching the semi-finals of both the 2015 Women's World Cup and this summer's Euros.

"Women in Football [WiF] are deeply concerned by the revelations surrounding Mark Sampson's employment as England manager", the statement read.

It is only 12 months ago that Sam Allardyce was dismissed as manager of the men's team for unguarded comments to an undercover reporter, and the FA is still under the microscope for what it knew about predatory paedophiles working in football in the past.

The 34-year-old was sacked as England Women's manager on Wednesday, a day after leading the team to a 6-0 win over Russian Federation, for "inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour" in his previous role at the Bristol Academy.

Mark Sampson
GETTYMark Sampson guided England to victory over Russia

The findings were flagged up to the FA leadership because Sampson was coming under mounting pressure over allegations of racism, harassment and bullying by former England striker Eni Aluko.

'Nothing illegal to our knowledge took place, ' Glenn said. We thought the conduct issues raised in the report were what the problem was.

The Guardian reported last month that the FA paid Aluko more than $100,000 in alleged hush money to "avoid disruption" ahead of Euro 2017.

Another player, Drew Spence, alleges that Sampson asked the mixed-race midfielder how many times she had been arrested during a team meeting in October 2015. According to multiple reports, the FA did not talk to other England players who were present when Sampson allegedly made the racist statements. That was originally meant to investigate the handling of Aluko's racism complaint, but will now look for answers on the whole Sampson affair.

"We know that coaches are in a potential position of power and that position mustn't be abused", said FA chairman Greg Clarke, who was appointed in 2016.

Where this leaves the 34-year-old Welshman is anybody's guess but it is understood his former club, now known as Bristol City Women, were not even aware of the outcome of the FA investigation until Wednesday's dramatic announcement or know the identity of the player involved.

He said on the Today programme on Radio 4: "Be it Martin Glenn or whoever it is at the FA, if it's clear that they ignored advice and warnings that were clear, then I think their position does become untenable".

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