England Women’s Soccer Team Manager Mark Sampson Fired After Allegations Of Misconduct
Mark Sampson, England’s women’s soccer team manager, has been fired by the Football Association following allegations that he behaved inappropriately with his players.
Mark Sampson Firing News
The FA’s chief executive, Martin Glenn, said the 34-year-old Welshman “overstepped the professional boundaries between player and coach” during his tenure as manager of Bristol’s Women’s team from 2009 to 2013. (Sampson then became coach of England’s women’s team).
At Bristol, Sampson first worked with ten-to-16-year-olds and later as the senior first-team coach. More than one player made claims against Sampson, and FA chairman Greg Clarke stated they ranged from the “trivial to the very serious,” although no specific incidents were disclosed.
According to several reports, the allegations against Sampson were first made anonymously in March 2014, three months after he left Bristol Academy to become coach of the Lionesses. The FA’s safeguarding and investigations team began inquiries into the claims shortly afterward. However, Glenn joined the FA one year after the allegations first arose, and says he was not informed of the probe until October 2015. He read the full report last week and handed it to Clarke.
Additionally, 30-year-old former England forward Eni Aluko — who is Nigerian-born — told The Guardian that Sampson had bullied and harassed her and made racial remarks about her. Aluko currently plays for the Chelsea Ladies of the British Women’s Soccer League.
However, The Sun reports that Sampson was fired for conduct not related to Aluko’s case.
Sampson has recently enjoyed success as England’s women’s manager: his squad reached the semi-finals at Euro 2017 this summer and routed Russia 6-0 in their first World Cup Qualifying match. Sampson’s contract was due to expire in June 2019, although the Guardian reported that Glenn told him in a phone call on Wednesday afternoon that “it would be terminated immediately”
Glenn has vowed that a probe into Aluko’s allegations — as well as those made by another mixed-race player named Drew Spence — would continue.
Sampson’s firing comes almost exactly 12 months after former England men’s team manager Sam Allardyce was forced to resign amid a newspaper sting after just one game in charge. Allardyce — who replaced Roy Hodgson as England boss following the national team’s embarrassing loss to Iceland in the Round of 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament — was replaced by current manager Gareth Southgate.
DEVENTER, NETHERLANDS – JULY 30: Mark Sampson, head coach of England gives his team instructions during the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 Quarter Final match between France and England at Stadion De Adelaarshorst on July 30, 2017 in Deventer, Netherlands. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)