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Eniola Aluko

FA in crisis as Mark Sampson is sacked as England Women's manager over claims of 'inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour' involving players at previous job

  • England Women manager Mark Sampson has been sacked from his post
  • Sampson has been the subject of allegations of racism, bullying and harassment 
  • Further accusations have reportedly been made, resulting in his departure 
  • The allegations of impropriety relate to his time as a coach at Bristol Academy 

Published: 15:26 BST, 20 September 2017 | Updated: 11:38 BST, 21 September 2017




The FA were in crisis on Wednesday night after England women’s manager Mark Sampson was sacked because of inappropriate relationships with female players he coached at Bristol Academy.

FA chief executive Martin Glenn admitted having been made aware of an investigation into Sampson’s conduct two years ago but failing to look into it further.

Last Wednesday, Glenn was passed the full report into accusations against Sampson in March 2014 — soon after he became England manager — of inappropriate relationships with more than one female player at Bristol Academy, claims which made his FA position ‘untenable’. 

England Women's manager Mark Sampson has been sacked from his role with the Lionesses

England's players put on a show of support for Sampson after the first goal against Russia

Sampson had been under scrutiny following allegations made by England's Eni Aluko

Sampson joined Bristol Academy, now called Bristol City Women, in 2009 and took charge of the programme for 16-19-year-olds before becoming manager of the senior team in 2011. Glenn made it clear no criminal activity had taken place.

But, asked if it was appropriate if Sampson coached again, Glenn said: ‘How can it be?’

An FA official later clarified he was referring to the prospect of Sampson coaching at the FA again, but Glenn added: ‘We know that coaches are in a potential position of power and that position mustn’t be abused. He is not deemed a safeguarding risk but to us it’s a conduct issue. The standards we set would not be compatible. A club would have to make up their own mind.’

The FA’s confidential investigation concluded that Sampson, 34, did not pose a risk to players, but in a farcical admission Glenn insisted he would have sacked Sampson at the time had he been fully aware of the allegations. 

Aluko made clear her stance on the celebration in Twitter post after Nikita Parris's goal

Aluko wrote an email to the FA last year that included allegations of bullying and harassment


The Football Association can confirm that Mark Sampson's contract as England Women's Head Coach has been terminated with immediate effect.

Prior to taking charge of the national team in December 2013, Mark was manager of Bristol Academy. In 2014, safeguarding allegations were made against him about his time with Bristol. The safeguarding assessment was that he did not pose a risk working in the game.

However, the full report of that investigation was only brought to the attention of the current FA leadership last week and 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.

In respect of investigations into specific allegations made by Eniola Aluko in 2016, The FA stands by the findings of the independent barrister Katherine Newton's investigation. 

Mark Sampson has denied all of the accusations put to him and no evidence of wrong-doing was found. We will continue to support the independent investigation as it reviews the recent evidence presented to it and publish any new findings and recommendations.

Glenn had been made aware of the report in October 2015 but did not look into it further until he received it last week.

After reading the report, Glenn immediately shared it with FA chairman Greg Clarke. ‘We were both deeply concerned,’ said Glenn. ‘We felt during his time at Bristol, Mark had overstepped the professional boundaries between player and coach. We both agreed Mark’s position was untenable.

‘We had a subsequent meeting with the board on Monday. The board unanimously supported our recommendation and therefore we terminated Mark’s contract.’

But Sampson, whose partner Gemma and baby daughter Amelie were with him at the Women’s European Championship in Holland this summer, was allowed to remain in charge as England beat Russia 6-0 in a World Cup qualifier at Prenton Park on Tuesday night.  

Kick It Out chairman Lord Herman Ouseley wants the FA to come clean over the investigation

Aluko has claimed she was subjected to racial slurs from the England Women's manager


Played: 59

Won: 38

Drawn: 8

Lost: 13

Win %: 64.4%

Goals Scored: 131

Goals per Game: 2.22

Yellow Cards: 51

Red Cards: 1

First Match: Drew 1-1 vs Norway (January 17, 2014)

Last Match: Won 6-0 vs Russia (September 19, 2017)

Eni Aluko scored Mark Sampson's first goal of his England managerial reign in the 10th minute of the match.


August 6: Sportsmail reveals that the Football Association paid hush money to Eni Aluko to keep quiet over an investigation into her claims of racism and bullying against Mark Sampson.

August 8: Aluko speaks out and says she was silenced after making her claims. 

August 18: Sampson says he needs to communicate better after FA release summery of report into Aluko's allegations. 

August 21: Aluko claims Sampson once told her to make sure her Nigerian relatives did not bring Ebola to a match at Wembley. 

August 23: Lianne Sanderson accuses Sampson and the FA of creating a culture of fear by axing players who dare to raise issues. 

August 25: England boss Gareth Southgate gives his backing to Sampson. 

August 25: Drew Spence is revealed as the player involved in Aluko's allegations about a comment made at the 2015 China Cup. 

August 30: Aluko says she is 'embarrassed and ashamed to be a participant of women's football in this country' after accusing FA of endorsing racism. 

September 5: Sampson rejects Aluko's allegations in his first TV interview since the claims were revealed by Sportsmail. 

September 8: England midfielder Katie Chapman claims she was dropped after telling Sampson about her divorce. 

September 11: FA officials will face grilling by MPs over the situation, it is announced.

September 14: It emerges that the FA could re-open their investigation after Spence writes to officials, corroborating Aluko's claim. 

September 16: It is revealed that Alex Scott was not interviewed during investigation into the allegations. 

September 20: Sampson leaves his role. 

England players hugged their manager after Nikita Parris’ opening goal as a statement of their ‘unity’, but Sampson was sacked hours later, with Glenn axing the Welshman over the phone on Wednesday afternoon.

Glenn said: ‘My personal regret was that I was made aware there had been an inquiry in October 2015. It was a very perfunctory and verbal report to say he had been investigated and cleared to work in football. 

'I guess my mistake was taking at face value that the details of the case were confidential. If I had known then what I know now I would have probed further.’

The FA maintained that this is a separate issue from the allegations of bullying, harassment and racism raised by Chelsea forward Eni Aluko in May 2016, but Glenn conceded that he was given the report because of the scrutiny Sampson has been under.

Sportsmail revealed last month that the FA paid Aluko £80,000 to keep quiet about her complaint, despite Sampson being cleared by two investigations.

Glenn said: ‘Because a number of people had been seeing the general scrutiny that Mark was under, several people took it to our attention and said we should go and reopen the case file and take a look.’

Clarke added: ‘Having read the report in detail there are different allegations about different things which is why we’re talking in the plural. Some could be categorised as trivial and some as very serious and none could be categorised as criminal.’

Sampson is set to be paid the balance of his £150,000-a-year contract’ understood to be around £20,000.

The separate investigation into allegations of racism, first raised by Aluko and corroborated by Drew Spence last week, remains ongoing with barrister Katharine Newton. 

In a move that will further embarrass the FA, Sportsmail can reveal that Spence is set to release a statement on the issue in the coming days and is due to meet Newton on Friday.

The charity Women In Sport dropped Sampson as a patron on Wednesday night.


The following comes from Sportsmail's exclusive story, breaking the news of hush money paid to Aluko by the Football Association, from August 6... 

Aluko has only said publicly that she believes team selections were made on the basis of 'popularity' rather than form. But in her eight-page complaint she detailed two years of 'bullying and harassment', claiming her treatment had forced her to quit.

In her submission, seen by the Daily Mail, she gave seven specific accounts in what is described as a 'non-exhaustive' list. She also claimed 'other England players, past and present' had suffered 'negative personal experiences'.

The striker said unfavourable treatment from FA staff began in February 2014, a month after Sampson was appointed head coach.

She said that in video analysis from one match, a coach on the touchline says: 'Her [Aluko's] fitness results are good,' to which another one replies: 'Yeah but she is lazy as f.' Both were wearing microphones. In another instance, the complaint said a coach could be heard saying: 'F off Eni' after she lost possession. The replay analysis is said to have been available to all players.

In the complaint Aluko added: 'It is inevitable that such damaging behaviour… has influenced… staff and teammates to be empowered to also attempt to undermine and belittle. I submit that this is the basis of a culture of bullying and harassment.

'I am concerned that this culture of behaviour could be extended to current players or England players in the future.'



Eniola Aluko photos

Eniola Aluko photos

Eniola Aluko photos

Eniola Aluko photos

Eniola Aluko photos

Eniola Aluko photos

Eniola Aluko photos

Eniola Aluko photos

Eniola Aluko photos