In Brief

English FA backs leadership over Mark Sampson sacking

FA says the ‘right procedures are in place to prevent a similar issue’

The English Football Association board has given its backing to chief executive Martin Glenn and chairman Greg Clarke following the controversial sacking of women’s head coach Mark Sampson. 

A day after England’s women’s team beat Russia 6-0 in a World Cup qualifying match, Sampson was fired after details emerged about an FA safeguarding report into the Welshman’s behaviour when he was a coach at the Bristol Academy. The report was first published in 2015.

Sampson, who became England head coach in 2013, had already been the subject of unsavoury allegations. The Guardian reported how Chelsea Ladies and England striker Eniola Aluko had accused him of making racist comments.

He denied the claims and was cleared of any wrongdoing by an independent investigation led by barrister Katharine Newton. 

Clarke and Glenn, who made the decision to sack Sampson after reading the safeguarding report, also came under fire for their handling of the women’s football fiasco.

AP writer Rob Harris tweeted a statement from the FA saying the “right procedures are in place” to prevent a repeat of the Sampson situation, but the board has asked for the matter to be further investigated.

The FA statement said: “The recent dismissal of Mark Sampson was discussed in full at today’s meeting of The FA Board.

“A number of questions were raised around the historic processes which the Board has asked the Executive to look into further with the appropriate external legal support.

“The Board is confident that, consistent with the substantial positive change under the leadership of Greg Clarke and Martin Glenn, the right procedures are in place to prevent a similar issue arising now or in the future.

“The Board also discussed ways to continue to improve support for England Women’s teams and will consider recommendations on this when they meet next.”

Harris also reports on Twitter that the FA leadership will still face a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee hearing next month to respond to MPs’ questions regarding the Sampson saga and the England women’s team.

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