Monday 11 December 2017

England women's manager Mark Sampson faces fresh questions over racism claims after new evidence emerges

Mark Sampson (Mike Egerton/PA)
Mark Sampson (Mike Egerton/PA)

Luke Edwards

Mark Sampson will face further questions regarding claims he used racist language to one of his players after new evidence was shown to the Football Association.

England’s women play their first international since losing to Holland in the semi-finals of the European Championships against Russia on Tuesday night, but the build-up will once again be overshadowed by allegations surrounding the manager.

Sampson has already been embroiled in a scandal for several weeks after it emerged he had been accused by former England international, Eni Aluko, of bullying and racism.

Although cleared of any wrongdoing by both an internal and independent inquiry, the FA have now been shown text messages relating to claims Sampson asked Chelsea player Drew Spence, how many times she had been arrested, a comment that was perceived to be racist because she is mixed race.

In a statement, the FA confirmed they have received fresh information regarding the matter, which formed part of the earlier accusation of racism and bullying made by Spence’s Chelsea teammate Aluko.

The FA said it could “confirm it has received new information which will be passed on … for further investigation.”

The FA has subsequently asked Katharine Newton, the barrister who looked into Aluko’s complaints about bullying and victimisation, to look at the fresh evidence, although sources have told Telegraph Sport that this does not amount to a new inquiry into Sampson.

Newton is seeking a meeting with Spence, having failed to speak to her during her initial investigation into Aluko’s complaint, to discuss the text messages.

Even though she was not present at the time, Aluko claimed the arrest comment had been made during a team meeting.  The FA have studied video footage of that meeting and could not find any evidence the comment had been made. Newton reached the same conclusion after viewing the same footage.

Although it was not contained in her original complaint against Sampson, Aluko also claimed in a newspaper interview that Sampson had previously told her to be careful her Nigerian relatives did not bring Ebola to Wembley.

Sampson strenuously denies making either comment and has described the investigations that cleared him of any wrongdoing as an “incredibly thorough process.”

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