Published: Thu, September 21, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

England women's coach Mark Sampson sacked after 'inappropriate behavior'

England women's coach Mark Sampson sacked after 'inappropriate behavior'

England on Wednesday sacked women's national soccer team manager Mark Sampson as a effect of "inappropriate and unacceptable" behavior in a previous position.

The lobby group's anger is only fuelled by the fact Sampson has spent the previous year contesting allegations of bullying and racism made by England and Chelsea striker Eni Aluko - but even then the FA did not reexamine his record.

Nigeria-born Aluko, who is a qualified lawyer and won 102 caps, said that Sampson made a "highly inappropriate remark" with "derogatory, racial and prejudicial connotations" in a 2015 meeting and criticized her former teammates for celebrating with their boss in Tuesday night's 6-0 win over Russian Federation.

The details of Sampson's improper behaviour have not been made clear but they are understood to involve a relationship with a player, although there is no suggestion of any criminal wrongdoing.

All this was detailed in a written report but no senior FA officials read it until it was brought to chief executive Martin Glenn's attention last week.

Sampson was also removed from his role as patron of the Women in Sport charity late on Wednesday night, but he was astonishingly supported by former England goalkeeper David James, who launched a verbal attack on Aluko and suggested that she had fabricated the claims to try and get Sampson sacked when he was no longer selecting her for the national team. The safeguarding assessment was that he did not pose a risk working in the game. Mark had overstepped the professional boundaries between player and coach.

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After conducting investigations into this allegation, the FA terminated Sampson's contract as England women's manager.

He denied the claims, and was cleared by the FA and an independent investigation led by barrister Katharine Newton QC.

The Times first revealed that warnings about his suitability had been given to the FA before his appointment and this has been confirmed by WiF. We thought the conduct issues raised in the report were what the problem was.

The FA clarified that the claims involved more than one player.

Glenn and fellow under-fire chairman Greg Clarke will have to answer questions at a parliamentary inquiry next month. He asked me if I had anyone who would be there and I said I had family coming over from Nigeria.

Glenn did not join the FA until March 2015, so can not be held responsible for the decision to appoint Sampson, but he chose not to push for details of the safeguarding investigation in October 2015 and has strongly backed the Welshman in the bitter dispute with Aluko, including agreeing to pay her £80,000 to settle the case earlier this year. According to multiple reports, the FA did not talk to other England players who were present when Sampson allegedly made the racist statements.

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