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Dublin: 21 °C Thursday 16 July, 2020

Sacked England women's manager found guilty of racially abusing players

The FA has been forced to apologise to Eni Aluko and Drew Spence after the findings of an independent report.

Mark Sampson.
Mark Sampson.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

AN INDEPENDENT REPORT has concluded that former England women’s manager Mark Sampson racially abused two international players.

Having previously been cleared by two separate inquiries, independent barrister Katharine Newton found the 35-year-old guilty of making comments which where “discriminatory on the grounds of race” about Eni Aluko and her Chelsea team-mate Drew Spence.

While Aluko told a parliamentary inquiry at the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee that she feels “vindicated” today, the FA has been forced to apologise to the pair via an official statement.

“My emotion is just relief as it’s been a long process getting to this point,” said Aluko, who has 102 caps for England. “I’m not an architect or engineer of this situation, I’ve been put in it.

“I feel vindicated in honesty with the truth. I’m a human being and I feel relieved. It suggests it was kind of all worth it going through the trouble and having it vindicated.”

Sampson was sacked by the FA last month when evidence of “inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour” during his previous role as manager of Bristol Academy came to light.

“On behalf of The Football Association I would like to sincerely apologise to Eniola Aluko and Drew Spence,” said FA chief executive Martin Glenn.

Based on new evidence submitted to independent barrister Katharine Newton, she has now found that they were both subject to discriminatory remarks made by an FA employee. This is not acceptable.

“In her final report Katharine Newton concluded that on two separate occasions Mark Sampson made ill-judged attempts at humour, which as a matter of law were discriminatory on grounds of race within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010. Katharine Newton did however conclude that Mark Sampson was not racist.”

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee hearing into FA governance Eni Aluko was in front of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee today.

The statement added: “She also concluded that there was no evidence to support the allegations that Eniola Aluko was subjected to ‘a course of bullying and discriminatory conduct’ by Mark Sampson.

“Our ambition has always been to find the truth and take swift and appropriate action if needed. It was our decision to have the original, second and final investigation to ensure that due diligence was taken.

“It is regrettable that Eniola did not participate in the first external investigation as this would have enabled Katharine Newton to conduct and complete her investigation sooner.

“We will fully support the recommendations from the report.”

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