Women in Football "deeply concerned" over Mark Sampson

Women in Football
© Offside
Women in Football says that it is "deeply concerned" by the events that led to Mark Sampson's dismissal as England Women manager.

Anti-discrimination group Women in Football has issued a statement saying that it is "deeply concerned" by the series of events that led to Mark Sampson being sacked as England Women manager yesterday.

The 34-year-old was let go by the FA after it reviewed concerns originally raised around the time of his appointment in 2013, where he was reported to have shown "inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour" during a previous job at Bristol Academy.

Sampson's dismissal came in the wake of - but is said not to be connected to - fresh developments in the allegations of racism made against him by ex-Lionesses striker Eni Aluko.

The former Cardiff City youth coach was cleared by two separate investigations, including an internal one by the FA, after Aluko claimed that he had made racist comments towards her and teammate Drew Spence. Last week Spence came forward to back up Aluko's version of events and claimed that neither investigation had seen fit to speak to her about whether the allegations were true.

"Women in Football (WiF) are deeply concerned by the revelations surrounding Mark Sampson's employment as England manager," the group, who dropped Sampson as a patron earlier this week, said today.

"WiF understands that questions over Sampson's suitability for the role were flagged to the FA as early as 2013 during the recruitment process. The safeguarding investigation of 2014, Sampson being sent on an education course in 2015, Eniola Aluko's complaint in 2016 and Dame Tanni Grey Thompson's Duty of Care report published in April 2017 were all missed opportunities for the governing body to more closely examine the issues.

"Indeed it is unfathomable that an England manager could be sent on a course to emphasise the appropriate boundaries between coach and player, as a direct result of a safeguarding investigation, and not be subject to any sort of due diligence.

"WiF routinely receive complaints of discrimination and abuse from women working in football. We rely on the governing body's ability to properly investigate these issues in a transparent and competent manner.

"The allegations from Eniola Aluko and subsequent failings in the investigation into her complaints, alongside these most recent safeguarding concerns, suggest an incoherent approach to ensuring football is a safe place for all."

Sampson has yet to speak out following his dismissal.

Mark Sampson applauds ahead of England Women's game against Russia Women on September 19, 2017
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