England Women’s manager Mark Sampson has been sacked by the Football Association (FA) after evidence emerged of “inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour” during his time with Bristol Academy.
Sampson was named Lionesses boss in December 2013 and has led the team to unprecedented success, including a semi-final spot at the 2015 World Cup.
But a misdemeanour during his time with Bristol has brought about his downfall.
An FA statement read: “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, Sampson was manager of Bristol Academy.
“In 2014, safeguarding allegations were made against him about his time with Bristol Academy. 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 Sampson’s contract.”
We can confirm that Mark Sampson has left his position as head coach of the @England Women's team.
Full statement: https://t.co/iNL1lSW74j
— The FA (@FA) September 20, 2017
The FA insisted his dismissal was not linked to allegations made by former England forward Eniola Aluko that alleged discriminatory behaviour on Sampson’s part.
Two investigations cleared Sampson but the matter is to be re-opened with senior FA executives to face a parliamentary inquiry over their handling of the matter.
The FA statement continued: “In respect of investigations into specific allegations made by Eniola Aluko in 2016, The FA stands by the findings of the independent barrister Katharine Newton’s investigation.
“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.”
FA chief executive Martin Glenn said in a video on the organisation’s website: “The reason we’re parting company was based on conduct for which the enquiry had concluded in 2015. This and the concerns raised by Eni Aluko, they are two very different issues.
“It’s understandable to put them together, but the complaints from Aluko were to do with potential bullying and potential racism, the complaint that was dealt with was seen through the lenses of safeguarding. Very different.
“We have to have the highest of standards if we’re going to be trusted to be the governing body of football.”