FA chief executive explains Sampson sacking

The Football Association has been heavily criticised after the sacking of England women’s manager Mark Sampson.

MP Damian Collins has questioned why it took so long to look into evidence of Sampson’s “inappropriate and unacceptable” behaviour with female players in a previous role.

“The system is flawed,” said Collins, who chairs the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

Ex-England captain Karen Walker said: “They have made a right mess of it.”

The FA says it was made aware last week of the full details of safeguarding allegations made against Sampson in 2014 relating to his time as Bristol Academy manager.

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

The 34-year-old Welshman was also cleared this year of wrongdoing following discrimination allegations made by England players, including Chelsea and England striker Eniola Aluko.

Sampson was appointed England head coach in December 2013

Call for independent review

Senior FA executives were already set to face questions next month from the committee headed by Collins, after Aluko initially raised a “bullying and harassment” grievance against Sampson in response to an internal cultural review.

Sampson, who denied Aluko’s claims, became England head coach in December 2013 after leaving 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.”

Collins told BBC Radio 5 live: “Why was it only last week this came to light? You have to look at the Football Association and say its systems are not working.

“The system is flawed and I think it needs a wider, independent assessment not just of who knew what and when in the Mark Sampson case and why it took people so long to come forward and action to be taken.”

Former centre-forward Walker, who was capped 83 times between 1988 and 2003, said the treatment of Sampson had been unfair.

“It does seem like a bit of a witchhunt to bring up something from how many years ago that’s already been looked at. It doesn’t seem right,” she said.

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