By 90Min
October 18, 2017

The FA has 'sincerely' apologised to England women players Eniola Aluko and Drew Spence after new evidence at an independent investigation determined that they were racially abused by former England coach Mark Sampson.


Barrister Katharine Newton, whose earlier investigation into complaints made by Aluko cleared Sampson of wrongdoing, found that the ex-England boss did make racist remarks towards Aluko and Spence on two separate occasions in the form of 'ill-judged attempts at humour'.

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However, Newton also declared that she does not believe Sampson, who was dismissed from his role as England coach last month after it became apparent that he had behaved in a way that was deemed 'inappropriate and unacceptable' during his time in charge of club side Bristol Academy, is himself a racist.

Sampson had told Aluko, born in Nigeria, to make sure her family didn't bring the Ebola virus to Wembley ahead of one game, while he had asked Spence, who is mixed race, if she had ever been arrested during a meeting in 2015.

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It was determined by Newton that Sampson has difficulty with boundaries with regard to 'banter'.

Aluko, Newton also determined, had not been subjected to a course of bullying.

Aluko reached an £80,000 settlement with the FA after the first investigations into the case. But in new evidence provided on Wednesday, the Chelsea Ladies striker declared she had not received the full sum and was informed by FA chief executive Martin Glenn she would receive the rest of the money if she put out a statement exonerating the FA of institutional racism.

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Aluko also accused England goalkeeping coach Lee Kendall of speaking to her in a Caribbean accent and suggested that FA Chairman Greg Clarke did not take the case seriously given his shoulder shrugging email response to a document about it.

A statement from Glenn released on Wednesday read, "On behalf of The Football Association I would like to sincerely apologise to Eniola Aluko and Drew Spence. Based on new evidence submitted to independent barrister Katharine Newton, she has now found that they were both subject to discriminatory remarks made by an FA employee. This is not acceptable.

"In her final report Katharine Newton concluded that on two separate occasions Mark Sampson made ill-judged attempts at humour, which as a matter of law were discriminatory on grounds of race within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010. Katharine Newton did however conclude that Mark Sampson was not racist.

"Our ambition has always been to find the truth and take swift and appropriate action if needed. It was our decision to have the original, second and final investigation to ensure that due diligence was taken. It is regrettable that Eniola did not participate in the first external investigation as this would have enabled Katharine Newton to conduct and complete her investigation sooner.

"We will fully support the recommendations from the report."

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