England sack Mark Sampson, amid series of scandals


The English FA has announced that they are terminating their contract with Mark Sampson, effective immediately, according to a report from the BBC. The firing is unrelated to recent allegations of racial discrimination brought by players such as Eniola Aluko, and instead stems from a previous incident or series of incidents that occurred when Sampson was in charge of the Bristol Academy.

In 2015, ‘safeguarding’ allegations were investigated by the FA, who determined that Sampson did not pose a risk. However, according to a statement released by the FA: “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 Sampson’s contract.”

By the FA’s own account, then, the information which necessitated his firing has been in their hands for two years. At best, this suggests incompetence and lack of communication on an issue of enormous importance. At worst, it indicates a culture of covering for those in power, which only became unsustainable as allegations continued to pile up.

While the FA claims to stand by the investigation which cleared Sampson of significant wrongdoing – while stating that it was not able to produce a complete account of what transpired – they have also reopened the question and are conducting a new round of investigations.

According to Daniel Taylor at the Guardian, there is still at least one more shoe left to drop in this story, which may relate to either the claims of racial discrimination or inappropriate behavior, or which may connect to a third as-yet-unknown scandal.

This story has raised serious questions about the England team. After a year of accusations from players of color which seem to have been brushed aside or dismissed, there is a lot of blame to cast around. As the story develops, we may gain more clarity about who has been most at fault.

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