Mark Sampson was sacked as manager of the England women’s team following further ‘safeguarding allegations’ against him.
Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn revealed he was passed a full report into accusations made against Sampson, shortly after he became England manager, in 2014 of inappropriate relationships with players while he was a coach at Bristol City’s academy and that his position was untenable.
The confidential safeguarding investigation and report concluded that Sampson did not pose a risk, but Glenn insisted he would have sacked Sampson at the time if he was fully aware of the allegations made.
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Sampson had been under scrutiny following allegations made by England’s Eni Aluko
Glenn admitted he was made aware of the report in October 2015 but did not look into it further until he received it late on Wednesday last week.
The information was put to an FA board meeting over the weekend and they confirmed the decision to sack Sampson on Monday.
They allowed the 34-year-old to remain in charge as England beat Russia 6-0 at Prenton Park on Tuesday night before Glenn told him over the phone on Wednesday.
The FA maintained that this is a separate issue to the allegations of bullying, harassment and racism raised by Chelsea forward Eni Aluko in May 2016, but Glenn conceded that he was given the report due to the scrutiny that Sampson has been under.
Sportsmail first revealed last month that the FA paid Aluko £80,000 to keep quiet about her complaint, despite Sampson being cleared by two investigations.
‘My personal learning and regret was that I was made aware there had been an inquiry in October 2015,’ Glenn said.
Aluko made clear her stance on the celebration in Twitter post after Nikita Parris’s goal
Aluko wrote an email to the FA last year that included allegations of bullying and harassment
‘It was a very perfunctory and verbal report by a head of safeguarding to say that he had been investigated and that he had been cleared to work as a participant in football.
I guess my mistake was that I took at face value the details of the case were confidential. If I had known then what I know now I would have probed further.
‘The custom and practice standard procedure with safeguarding issues is total confidentiality.
‘But because a number of people had been seeing the general scrutiny that Mark was under several people took it to our attention and the HR director’s attention and said we should go an reopen the case file and take a look.’
Kick It Out chairman Lord Herman Ouseley wants the FA to come clean over the investigation
Aluko has claimed she was subjected to racial slurs from the England Women’s manager
HOW THE STORY HAS EVOLVED
August 6: Sportsmail reveals that the Football Association paid hush money to Eni Aluko to keep quiet over an investigation into her claims of racism and bullying against Mark Sampson.
August 8: Aluko speaks out and says she was silenced after making her claims.
August 18: Sampson says he needs to communicate better after FA release summery of report into Aluko’s allegations.
August 21: Aluko claims Sampson once told her to make sure her Nigerian relatives did not bring Ebola to a match at Wembley.
August 23: Lianne Sanderson accuses Sampson and the FA of creating a culture of fear by axing players who dare to raise issues.
August 25: England boss Gareth Southgate gives his backing to Sampson.
August 25: Drew Spence is revealed as the player involved in Aluko’s allegations about a comment made at the 2015 China Cup.
August 30: Aluko says she is ’embarrassed and ashamed to be a participant of women’s football in this country’ after accusing FA of endorsing racism.
September 5: Sampson rejects Aluko’s allegations in his first TV interview since the claims were revealed by Sportsmail.
September 8: England midfielder Katie Chapman claims she was dropped after telling Sampson about her divorce.
September 11: FA officials will face grilling by MPs over the situation, it is announced.
September 14: It emerges that the FA could re-open their investigation after Spence writes to officials, corroborating Aluko’s claim.
September 16: It is revealed that Alex Scott was not interviewed during investigation into the allegations.
September 20: Sampson leaves his role.
Sampson, Glenn says, ticked a box during his application for the England job indicating that there was nothing they needed to know, and that they received references from Bristol ‘which were positive’ and he was given the job in December 2013. Sir Trevor Brooking oversaw the appointment.
The allegations were made to the FA against Sampson in March 2014 and a year-long safeguarding investigation was carried out.
‘I just want to reiterate that it’s not an illegal issue, nothing illegal to our knowledge took place,’ Glenn said. ‘It’s an issue about the relationship between coach and players.
‘We’ve seen the information and decided the conduct was not what we want from an FA employee.’
FA chairman Greg Clarke said: ‘Having read the report in detail there are different allegations about different things which is why we’re talking in the plural. Some could be categorised as trivial and some as very serious and none could be categorised as criminal.’
Asked if it was appropriate if Sampson coached again, Glenn said: ‘How can it be?’ Although an FA official later clarified he was referring to the prospect of Sampson coaching at the FA again.
Glenn added: ‘We know that coaches are in a potential position of power and that position mustn’t be abused. That’s been true across all sports.
‘And is true in football as well. We have to be really clear and I think we are at the FA about what we stand for in that respect.
‘He is not deemed a safeguarding risk in football but to us it’s a conduct issue. The standards we set in the FA would not be compatible. A club would have to make their own mind up.’
On the phone call with Sampson, Glenn said: ‘That’s a private conversation. Obviously he was upset. The balance of his contract will be paid.’
The separate investigation into allegations of racism, first raised by Aluko and corroborated by Drew Spence last week, remains on-going with barrister Katharine Newton.
CONTENT OF ALUKO’S COMPLAINT
The following comes from Sportsmail’s exclusive story, breaking the news of hush money paid to Aluko by the Football Association, from August 6…
Aluko has only said publicly that she believes team selections were made on the basis of ‘popularity’ rather than form. But in her eight-page complaint she detailed two years of ‘bullying and harassment’, claiming her treatment had forced her to quit.
In her submission, seen by the Daily Mail, she gave seven specific accounts in what is described as a ‘non-exhaustive’ list. She also claimed ‘other England players, past and present’ had suffered ‘negative personal experiences’.
The striker said unfavourable treatment from FA staff began in February 2014, a month after Sampson was appointed head coach.
She said that in video analysis from one match, a coach on the touchline says: ‘Her [Aluko’s] fitness results are good,’ to which another one replies: ‘Yeah but she is lazy as f***.’ Both were wearing microphones. In another instance, the complaint said a coach could be heard saying: ‘F*** off Eni’ after she lost possession. The replay analysis is said to have been available to all players.
In the complaint Aluko added: ‘It is inevitable that such damaging behaviour… has influenced… staff and teammates to be empowered to also attempt to undermine and belittle. I submit that this is the basis of a culture of bullying and harassment.
‘I am concerned that this culture of behaviour could be extended to current players or England players in the future.’