FA to re-open inquiry into Sampson race abuse claims
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