Former England Women's Team Manager Mark Sampson Found Guilty Of Racial Abuse
Former England women's national team Manager Mark Sampson "was found guilty of racially abusing both Eni Aluko and Drew Spence at the third time of asking" on Wednesday in an "explosive report into a scandal that has engulfed" the entire FA, according to Ben Rumsby of the London TELEGRAPH. The FA "was forced to issue a humiliating apology after a reopened independent investigation" decided that Sampson "had told Aluko to ensure her Nigerian relatives did not bring Ebola to a match at Wembley" and had also asked her Chelsea teammate Spence "how many times she had been arrested." Sampson had been cleared of doing so by two previous inquiries "but, in a stunning vindication of the most serious aspect of Aluko’s original complaint against him," which Spence last month came forward to corroborate, independent barrister Katharine Newton ruled against Sampson (TELEGRAPH, 10/18). In London, Jonathan Liew reported the FA offered "sincere" apologies to both players, concluding that the remarks by Sampson -- who was sacked last month over separate allegations of "inappropriate conduct" in a previous job at Bristol Academy -- were "not acceptable." FA CEO Martin Glenn, Chair Greg Clarke, Technical Dir Dan Ashworth and HR Dir Rachel Brace were all "grilled" by MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Committee on Wednesday. In his evidence to the inquiry, Sampson said that he could not imagine ever saying "something along those lines to Eni." He also questioned why Aluko "did not make reference to the comment in her initial letter of grievance" to Ashworth in May '16, "only referring to it in detail" in August (INDEPENDENT, 10/18).
MEA CULPA: In London, Daniel Taylor reported Newton’s revised findings came after taking evidence from "a number of other England footballers" who heard the comment to Spence at the China Cup in Oct. '15 but, "crucially, were not interviewed as part of her first investigation." Glenn said in a statement, "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" (GUARDIAN, 10/18). REUTERS' Ian Chadband reported Glenn's statement said that Newton also concluded "there was no evidence to support the allegations that Eniola Aluko was subjected to 'a course of bullying and discriminatory conduct' by Mark Sampson." Aluko, who has 102 caps for England, "has not played since making her claims last year." The 30-year-old said that she suffered "victimisation" for "speaking out about discrimination" in the England team setup (REUTERS, 10/18).
'JUST RELIEF': The BBC reported Aluko reacted to the new report, saying, "My emotion is just relief as it's been a long process getting to this point. I'm not architect or engineer of this situation. I've been put in it. 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" (BBC, 10/18).