Calls grow for FA heads to roll over Sampson scandal

LONDON • English Football Association (FA) bosses were facing growing calls to quit yesterday over their "shambolic" handling of the Mark Sampson affair following a damaging grilling from lawmakers.

Wednesday's session opened with the publication of a reopened investigation into Chelsea player Eni Aluko's claims of bullying and discrimination against the former England women's manager.

FA chairman Greg Clarke, chief executive Martin Glenn, technical director Dan Ashworth and human resources director Rachel Brace were interrogated by lawmakers on the digital, culture, media and sport committee for two hours.

Questions were asked from what checks were made on Sampson before he was appointed, to why the FA was withholding half of an £80,000 (S$142,847) settlement from whistle-blower Aluko.

Glenn denied trying to "blackmail" Aluko into making a statement that the governing body is not institutionally racist.

The 30-year-old striker had earlier told the panel she had not received a "second tranche" of the £80,000 settlement she agreed with the FA earlier this year to avoid going to an employment tribunal following her allegations against Sampson.

Aluko said she was told by Glenn that she would get the rest of her money if she wrote a statement clearing the FA of racism.

She said she "categorically refused to write it", considering it to be an "appalling" request that "bordered on blackmail".

Glenn refuted Aluko's claim, saying the FA had stopped the second payment because of a tweet Aluko sent on Aug 30.

That tweet read: "We now know the FA's stance on derogatory racial remarks by an England manager. Ignore, deny, endorse. In that order."

Glenn said the FA took legal advice and decided it breached their agreement "not to defame each other".

When asked if the FA officials should consider their positions, panel chairman Damian Collins said: "Yes, I think they have to look very carefully at the evidence given today."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2017, with the headline 'Calls grow for FA heads to roll over Sampson scandal'. Print Edition | Subscribe