Saturday 20 January 2018

Women's football head defends FA chief Martin Glenn over Mark Sampson sacking

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)

Head of women's football Baroness Sue Campbell has given her backing to Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn over the sacking of Mark Sampson.

Sampson's contract as England Women's manager was terminated on Wednesday based on evidence of "inappropriate and unacceptable" behaviour in a previous role in a safeguarding report.

Glenn and FA chairman Greg Clarke are under fierce scrutiny over why it took so long to sack the 34-year-old in relation to allegations which were first reported to the FA in 2014.

FA executives will appear before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee next month to face questions about the matter.

But Baroness Campbell insists Glenn, who was appointed chief executive in March 2015, should not lose his job.

She told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek programme: "We at the FA have lessons to learn but I believe Martin is doing an amazing job turning round a super tanker.

"He is an outstanding chief executive and he has handled this with complete integrity in terms of the process.

"This has not been comfortable for anybody, we need to respect there is some human pain in all this for everybody. It's a tough situation.

"I am 100 per cent hopeful no one will lose their job because I don't think anyone deserves to. I believe we are doing a good job at the FA.

"There are lessons to be learned but I am sure Martin will ensure we learn those lessons and nothing of this nature happens again in the future."

Sampson's career seems to be in tatters following his dismissal, which also came amid allegations of racism - for which he was twice cleared and fiercely denied - by England player Eni Aluko.

But when asked if it would be impossible for him to get another coaching role, Campbell added: "I hope not, because Mark Sampson has taken those players from 14th in the world to third in the world.

"I hope over time people will understand that whatever mistakes people make we can move on, and people need to be given another chance."

As for the currently managerless England team, they face France in a friendly next month before World Cup qualifiers against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kazakhstan in November.

"We hope to announce an interim person to take us through the friendly with France and the two qualifiers in November by the end of next week," said Campbell.

"We hope to be advertising and searching both domestically and internationally for the best person for the job as soon as possible. We hope to have that person in post by early 2018."

The FA board will consider the events that led to Sampson's departure, and issues arising from his exit, at a meeting on Monday.

Campbell will be involved, she said, but only so far as giving a presentation on the successes that have been achieved in women's football.

"I won't be party to the discussions on Mark Sampson. That is a matter for the board and the chief executive," she told Sportsweek.

Asked if she was disappointed not to be invited to have her say in the board meeting, Campbell added: "I've had a very good and meaningful conversation with Martin and with the chairman (Greg Clarke).

"The discussion they now have to have is one about how they take this forward from here, and I've had my input and I'm not at all disappointed."

Press Association

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