FA to re-open in­quiry into Samp­son race abuse claims

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Football - By Ben Rumsby

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion into ac­cu­sa­tions of racist abuse by the man­ager of Eng­land Women was poised to be dra­mat­i­cally re-opened last night, af­ter his other al­leged vic­tim came for­ward to cor­rob­o­rate claims he asked her how many times she had been ar­rested.

In the week Mark Samp­son failed to draw a line un­der the race row that has en­gulfed him, it emerged that Chelsea player Drew Spence had pro­vided a writ­ten state­ment to the Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion back­ing ev­i­dence given by team-mate Eni Aluko which sparked two in­quiries into the saga.

It was also re­vealed Spence had held a pri­vate meet­ing with se­nior FA of­fi­cials to give her ver­sion of events and state that she had been up­set and of­fended by the al­leged com­ments by Samp­son, who had been cleared with­out ei­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­ter­view­ing her or other po­ten­tial eye­wit­nesses.

The Daily Tele­graph can re­veal that, pro­vided Spence is will­ing, the sec­ond in­de­pen­dent in­quiry car­ried out by the bar­ris­ter Katharine New­ton, will be re-opened to con­sider the 24-year-old’s ev­i­dence. If it is, New­ton will be un­der pres­sure to in­ter­view the other three play­ers who were in the room when the com­ment was al­legedly made to­wards Spence. The al­leged in­ci­dent oc­curred dur­ing a mid­field­ers’ meet­ing at the China Cup in Oc­to­ber 2015 – Spence’s one and only call-up – at­tended by Jill Scott, Jo Pot­ter and Izzy Chris­tiansen.

New­ton cleared Samp­son of ask­ing Spence, “Haven’t you been ar­rested be­fore? Four times, isn’t it?”, us­ing video footage of the meet­ing, rather by than in­ter­view­ing those present be­yond the Eng­land man­ager him­self.

That prompted calls for the FA to launch a new in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion led by an in­di­vid­ual agreed upon be­tween the or­gan­i­sa­tion and the Pro­fes­sional Foot­ballers’ As­so­ci­a­tion, which sup­ported Aluko in her orig­i­nal com­plaint.

The FA’S re­fusal to do so sparked a par­lia­men­tary in­quiry, with the Cul­ture, Me­dia and Sport se­lect com­mit­tee plan­ning to sum­mon se­nior ex­ec­u­tives next month.

Aluko is also ex­pected to ap­pear and re­peat her ac­cu­sa­tions, in­clud­ing that Samp­son told her to en­sure her Nige­rian rel­a­tives did not bring Ebola to a match at Wembley.

Samp­son, who de­nies racially abus­ing Aluko or Spence, ap­peared to con­tra­dict his own ev­i­dence to the New­ton in­quiry this week when he said he could not re­call any con­ver­sa­tion with the striker re­lat­ing to Ebola.

That was af­ter he had given New­ton a de­tailed ac­count of an in­ci­dent in which he said Aluko had joked about her first name – Eniola – be­ing con­fused with the word Ebola.

Back in fo­cus: Mark Samp­son has been cleared once of the allegations

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