tiptrot.com March 24, 2018

Damian Collins says Mark Sampson sacking 'reflects very poorly' on FA

22 September 2017, 12:13 | Susie Olson

GETTYMark Sampson celebrates during England's 6-0 win over Russia

Mark Sampson

The coach of the England women's team was sacked Wednesday over "inappropriate and unacceptable behavior" involving his relationship with players in his previous job.

Collins said the FA's handling of the matter raised questions over its capability of running major investigations.

Yet less than 24 hours after Sampson oversaw England's 6-0 win against Russian Federation in a World Cup qualifier, he was called to the FA's Wembley headquarters to be informed his contract would be terminated with immediate effect following an historic safeguarding investigation into his conduct while he was manager of Bristol Academy.

Those allegations were investigated by the FA's safeguarding unit and "its assessment was that he did not pose a risk working in the game".

Glenn, speaking from Wembley, was appointed as the FA's new chief executive in March 2015 - the same month in which the safeguarding report into Sampson was completed - and admitted his regret that he had not fired Sampson when he was made aware of the investigation in October of that year.

The FA said the sacking of Sampson was unconnected to allegations of bullying and harassment by the former England player Eni Aluko.

It is understood Sampson was one of several British and overseas coaches interviewed for the job and it involved at least two rounds of interviews.

But Sampson's tenure was marked by accusations of impropriety that first arose only months after he was hired in December 2013, and on Wednesday - less than 24 hours after his team began qualification for the 2019 World Cup with a 6-0 win over Russian Federation - the English Football Association fired him, citing "clear evidence of inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour" in a statement announcing its decision.

Sampson, 34, was sacked for "inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour" towards female players during his time at a previous club, Bristol Academy [now Bristol City Women]. The club declined to comment.

Despite Sampson being cleared in 2015, FA CEO Martin Glenn, reviewed the report in detail and he decided, along with the FA board, that Sampson had "overstepped the professional boundaries between player and coach".

James" claims unsurprisingly attracted criticism from other social media users, and when asked how the Women's Super League's top goalscorer last season is not good enough for the global team, James responded that Aluko is a "poor worldwide player, not a "team' player".

That investigation cleared him from a safeguarding point of view and he was allowed to continue his preparations for the 2015 Women's World Cup, where England finished third. Sampson was only informed on Wednesday of the fresh concerns about his behavior and the decision to fire him.

Collins said: " I think he (Glenn) has got hard questions to answer.

"The full report of that [2014] investigation was only brought to the attention of the current FA leadership last week", the FA said in a statement.

Britain's Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch described the whole process as "a mess" and said it raised "very serious questions" about due diligence and "whether the historic processes that the FA had in place around the recruitment of coaches were appropriate, for something like this to have been missed".

"The FA are right to have taken action but reassurance is needed to make sure this does not happen again at any level of coaching".

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