England Women's football team boss sacked as historic details of 'inappropriate behaviour' emerge

Mark Sampson was finally sacked as England Women's manager last night for ''inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour'' during his time at a previous club.

Sampson, 34, has in recent weeks been the subject of accusations of racism, harassment and bullying made by former England player Eni Aluko.

Yet less than 24 hours after Sampson oversaw England's 6-0 win against Russia at Prenton Park he was called to Wembley Stadium to be informed that his contract would be terminated with immediate effect following an historic safeguarding investigation into his conduct while he was manager of Bristol Academy.

The 2014 report, undertaken just months after Sampson was given the England job, concluded that he posed no risk working in the game, but the Football Association's chief executive Martin Glenn - last week urged to re-examine the case by "external sources" - decreed that Sampson had "overstepped the professional boundaries between player and coach" making his position "untenable".

The FA were facing heavy criticism last night, with the Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch, describing the situation as a "mess".

Meanwhile, a Bristol Academy club source said it was ''a shock'' to learn Sampson had lost his job over the case.

"The Football Association can confirm that Mark Sampson's contract as England Women's head coach has been terminated with immediate effect," read a statement from the national body on Wednesday.

''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.''

Following a hastily-arranged briefing, at which Glenn appeared alongside FA chairman Greg Clarke, Glenn revealed that he had been urged to look at the specifics of the 2014 report by individuals outside of the organisation last Wednesday before expressing his concerns with the board.

Sampson was said to have been unaware of the FA's intention to sack him during his side's World Cup qualifying victory last night.

Glenn, speaking from Wembley Stadium, was appointed as the FA's new CEO in March 2015 - the same month in which the safeguarding report into Sampson was completed - and admitted his regret that he had not fired the 34-year-old when he was made aware of the investigation in October of that year.

"This situation is a mess and raises very serious questions about 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," Crouch said in a statement shortly after news of Sampson's dismissal.

"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."

Sampson led England to successive semi-finals at the 2015 World Cup and the European Championships earlier this year, but the final months of his four-year reign have been plagued in controversy following a series of claims by Chelsea forward Aluko. Sampson was cleared of any wrong-doing by an FA review, and a subsequent independent investigation.

Trevor Brooking was the director of football development at the FA at the time of Sampson's appointment.

He was present when Sampson interviewed for the job but said he was unaware of any of the allegations from Sampson's time at Bristol.

He told The Times: "I was there and he interviewed fine but it would have been the HR people that looked into all the background stuff.

"Certainly nothing surfaced at that stage that I was aware of."


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