‘Ebola’ Sacks Sampson from England Women’s Soccer Team Job

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Mark Sampson has been sacked as England women’s soccer team manager following evidence of “inappropriate and unacceptable” behaviour in a previous role.

The English Football Association said last week it was made aware of the full details of safeguarding allegations against Sampson when he was Bristol Academy boss in 2014.

But a 2015 FA assessment found Sampson did not pose a risk.

Sampson was also cleared this year of wrongdoing following discrimination allegations made by England players.

The 34-year-old Welshman became England head coach in December 2013 after leaving his role as manager of top-flight side Bristol Academy, now renamed Bristol City Women.
The FA statement said: “the full report of that (2014) investigation was only brought to the attention of the current FA leadership last week.

“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 Mark’s contract.”

Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch said: “This situation is a mess and raises very serious questions about whether the historic processes that the FA had in place around the recruitment of coaches were appropriate, for something like this to have been missed. The FA is right to have taken action but reassurance is needed to make sure this does not happen again at any level of coaching.”

Sampson’s England side beat Russia 6-0 in a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday and he led the Lionesses to successive semi-finals at major tournaments.

Last week, the FA announced it was to re-open its investigation into separate discrimination claims against Sampson, first made in 2016.

Sampson was alleged to have asked mixed race England midfielder Drew Spence whether she had been arrested during a tournament in 2015, a claim which he denied.

The claim was first made by Spence’s England and Chelsea team-mate Eniola Aluko, and Spence has now submitted written evidence to support it.

In a further separate allegation, Aluko said Sampson told her to make sure her Nigerian relatives did not “bring Ebola” to an England game at Wembley in 2014.

Two investigations – one internal FA inquiry and one independent review led by barrister Katharine Newton – cleared Sampson of any wrongdoing.

Senior FA executives are set to face a parliamentary inquiry over the investigations after Aluko initially raised a “bullying and harassment” grievance against Sampson in response to an internal cultural review.

Aluko, who has 102 caps and is a qualified lawyer, and fellow England forward Lianne Sanderson have been invited to give evidence to the select committee hearing planned for mid-October.