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Aluko still in England contention - Marley

England
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 By PA Sport

FA board backs chief executive Martin Glenn over Mark Sampson sacking

Mark Sampson was dismissed as England women's manager last week.

Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn has been given a vote of confidence by the board for his handling of Mark Sampson's dismissal as England women's manager.

The FA board met at Wembley on Monday for the first time since the furore surrounding Sampson arose and the matter was discussed at length.

In a statement, the FA said: "A number of questions were raised around the historic processes which the board has asked the executive to look into further with the appropriate external legal support.

"The board is confident that, consistent with the substantial positive change under the leadership of [chairman] Greg Clarke and Martin Glenn, the right procedures are in place to prevent a similar issue arising now or in the future.

"The board also discussed ways to continue to improve support for England women's teams and will consider recommendations on this when they next meet.''

Sampson was sacked last Wednesday, a day after leading his team to a 6-0 win over Russia, for "inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour'' in his previous role as manager of Bristol Academy.

This behaviour was the subject of a year-long safeguarding investigation which started in March 2014, shortly after his appointment as England boss.

Based on an anonymous tip-off about a relationship with a teenage player at Bristol, the FA investigation cleared Sampson from a safeguarding point of view, but the 34-year-old was made to complete an education and mentoring course to address the player/coach issues raised.

All of this was detailed in a report the FA says nobody outside its safeguarding team read until 10 days ago, when another tip-off came that Glenn should re-examine the case.

Having done so, the chief executive's response was swift and Sampson's career in football may well be over.

Many wondered if Glenn's FA career was finished, too, as he has admitted to not asking more questions about the safeguarding investigation until very recently.

This has struck some as a remarkable oversight considering that Sampson has also been the focus of bullying and racism allegations for at least a year.

First made by Chelsea and England striker Eni Aluko, these claims have now been supported by former Three Lions midfielders Lianne Sanderson and Drew Spence.

The FA says these claims have been investigated twice, once by an independent barrister, and Sampson has been cleared. He has also strongly denied the allegations.

But, with the Professional Footballers' Association already dismissing the investigations as a cover-up, Glenn and his senior colleagues have been summoned to appear before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee [DCMS] next month to explain their handling of the Sampson fiasco.

The 11-strong panel of MPs had already invited Aluko and Sanderson to speak about the racism allegations, but last week's dramatic turn of events has now raised the stakes considerably.

In a statement, committee chairman Damian Collins said: "Following the sacking of the England women's coach, Mark Sampson, the Football Association must explain why it took so long to look into issues raised about the coach's past.

"Why was he appointed in the first place? Why didn't senior officials refer back to this information when a player stepped forward with serious allegations?

"Players have a reasonable right to expect their concerns will be taken seriously. The committee will ask why senior leadership at the FA failed to act without prompting from external organisations. This raises serious questions about their capacity to run internal investigations.''

The DCMS hearing will take place in Westminster, London, from 2.30 p.m. BST and will be broadcast online.

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