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Mark Sampson Sacked As England Women’s Head Coach Over 'Unacceptable Behaviour', FA Confirms

'A mess,' says sports minister.

20/09/2017 18:20 | Updated 20 September 2017

Mark Sampson has been sacked as England Women’s head coach, the Football Association has confirmed 

The FA said the 34-year-old has been removed over “inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour” in a previous role.

The football authority said it has only just been made aware of details of the allegations made against Sampson when he was Bristol Academy boss.

Tracey Crouch, the Sport Minister, said the situation “is a mess” and “raises very serious questions” about the FA’s recruitment process.

PA Wire/PA Images
Mark Sampson.

The FA said safeguarding allegations were made a year after Sampson became England head coach in December 2013, but an assessment found he did not pose a risk.

However, “the full report of that investigation was only brought to the attention of the current FA leadership last week”.

The reasons for his sacking appear separate from allegations made by former England star Eniola Aluko, who claimed Sampson was alleged to have asked mixed race England midfielder Drew Spence whether she had been arrested during a tournament in 2015. She also claimed Sampson told her to make sure her Nigerian relatives did not “bring Ebola” to an England game at Wembley in 2014.

Two investigations cleared Sampson of any wrongdoing.

The FA said:

“The Football Association can confirm that Mark Sampson’s contract as England Women’s head coach has been terminated with immediate effect.

“Prior to taking charge of the national team in December 2013, Sampson was manager of Bristol Academy.

“In 2014, safeguarding allegations were made against him about his time with Bristol Academy. The safeguarding assessment was that he did not pose a risk working in the game.

“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.

“It is on this basis that we have acted quickly to agree a termination of Sampson’s contract.

“In respect of investigations into specific allegations made by Eniola Aluko in 2016, the FA stands by the findings of the independent barrister Katharine Newton’s investigation.

“Sampson has denied all of the accusations put to him and no evidence of wrong-doing was found.

“We will continue to support the independent investigation as it reviews the recent evidence presented to it and publish any new findings and recommendations.”

Damian Collins, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee of MPs, said he had “little confidence” in the FA’s ability to investigate serious issues. 

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