Thursday 22 February 2018

FA send quarter of bosses to face MPs over handling of Mark Sampson case

Mark Sampson the manager of England looks on during the FIFA Women's World Cup Qualifier between England and Russia at Prenton Park on September 19, 2017 in Birkenhead, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Mark Sampson the manager of England looks on during the FIFA Women's World Cup Qualifier between England and Russia at Prenton Park on September 19, 2017 in Birkenhead, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Matt Slater

The Football Association has confirmed it is sending a quartet of bosses to face questions from a panel of MPs on its handling of the various crises surrounding former England Women's manager Mark Sampson.

Chairman Greg Clarke, chief executive Martin Glenn, technical director Dan Ashworth and human resources director Rachel Brace will all appear before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee on October 18.

There they will be joined by England and Chelsea striker Eni Aluko, who accepted the panel's invitation earlier this month to discuss the claims of bullying and racism she has made against Sampson.

He was sacked as England boss last week, but not for Aluko's allegations, which are still being investigated by the FA, although he has already twice been cleared of wrongdoing in that case.

The 34-year-old was fired because of "inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour" in his previous job at Bristol Academy.

That behaviour, understood to be a relationship with an 18-year-old player, was the subject of a year-long FA safeguarding investigation which concluded in 2015.

Sampson was cleared in terms of working with children, but sent on a personal education and mentoring course to address the issues raised during the investigation.

The FA has claimed that nobody outside of the safeguarding team, including Glenn and Sampson's line manager Ashworth, was aware of the full details of the case until it was brought to the chief executive's attention a fortnight ago.

After Sampson's abrupt exit, DCMS committee chairman Damian Collins said: "The Football Association must explain why it took so long to look into issues raised about the coach's past.

"Why was he appointed in the first place? Why didn't senior officials refer back to this information when a player stepped forward with serious allegations? Players have a reasonable right to expect their concerns will be taken seriously.

"The committee will ask why senior leadership at the FA failed to act without prompting from external organisations. This raises serious questions about their capacity to run internal investigations."

In its short statement to confirm who it is sending to the committee's evidence-gathering session, the FA said: "It is hoped this oral evidence will further inform the committee's important work on sports governance and how to support whistle-blowing in elite team sports."

The hearing will take place in Westminster at 2.30pm and will be broadcast online on parliamentlive.tv.

Press Association

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