Mark Sampson: FA criticised by sports minister Tracey Crouch over 'sorry saga'

Greg Clarke and Martin Glenn
Martin Glenn and Greg Clarke faced questions from MPs in parliament on Wednesday

Sports minister Tracey Crouch has urged the FA to improve, after its handling of discrimination claims against ex-England women's boss Mark Sampson.

She has previously warned the governing body could lose £30m-£40m of funding if it does not reform.

"I hope the FA learns lessons from this whole sorry saga," said Crouch.

She called on the organisation to ensure "that all in the sport and the wider public have faith in their processes and procedures".

The shadow sports minister added that the current leadership are "incapable of dealing with allegations of bullying and racism".

Labour's Dr Rosena Allin-Khan said: "After hearing the evidence put forward and the lack of accountability shown, I have lost confidence in the FA's leadership team.

"The senior leadership team at the FA need to have a long, hard look at themselves and the board need to act quickly and decisively to take the FA in a new direction."

The Football Association apologised on Wednesday for racially discriminatory remarks made by Sampson to Eniola Aluko in 2014 and to her Chelsea and England team-mate Drew Spence in 2015, as a reopened investigation into their complaints was published.

But the organisation was subsequently described as "shambolic" as FA bosses faced difficult questions during a four-hour parliamentary inquiry.

"We have been clear that we expect world-leading standards of governance from all our national sports governing bodies," said Crouch.

"This is why, alongside Sport England and UK Sport, we have drawn up a new code for sports governance that all publicly funded sports bodies, including the FA, must adhere to."

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FA 'still not listening'

The FA has been accused by Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor of ignoring the issues raised by the Aluko case.

He made the comments after his organisation was criticised by FA chairman Greg Clarke.

"They didn't listen to her then. They're still not listening," Taylor told BBC Sport.

Giving evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Clarke said he had a "fundamental problem" with the governance at the top of the PFA.

He said: "The PFA spends millions of pounds a year on the CEO's salary and pension and they are walking away from alcoholics, from addicted gamblers. I will never look up to their governance, though I respect their people."

Taylor said that was an attempt to deflect criticism and "was so unprofessional it was amazing".

He said Clarke had "burned bridges" between the organisations and added: "We don't need any lectures from the FA on good governance."

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FA 'still not listening' to Aluko - PFA chief

'Give Aluko a role'

Aluko, who has been capped 102 times but has not played for England since making her complaint against Sampson, could return to the team after interim head coach Mo Marley said she would "100%" consider picking the striker.

Former England players Gary Lineker and Trevor Sinclair have both called for Aluko to be given a role at the FA.

"Instead of trying to silence @EniAlu the @FA should give this impressive young woman a voice to change things from within the institution," said Lineker on Twitter.

Sinclair told BBC Radio 5 live: "Eni has shown a lot of dignity. She's very brave. The way she articulated herself was absolutely top drawer. She would be the perfect candidate for me to be on the board."

Yunus Lunat, a former adviser to the FA's race equality board, said the organisation had failed to address serious allegations.

"There's a term - institutional discrimination - being bandied around here. If you analyse what has happened, it fits the term institutional discrimination to a tee, I'm afraid," he said.

On Wednesday, the head of an anti-racism group had questioned whether Clarke was right in his suggestion that he had contacted him early in the case for advice.

Kick It Out chairman Lord Herman Ouseley told BBC Sport he spoke to Clarke on Thursday to clarify they had discussed the issue much later in the process.

"My assessment, which I gave to the FA, was: 'You screwed up.' It was a flawed investigation. You need to hold your hands up and apologise," he said.

"They forgot that Eni Aluko was one of their employees. She's on a contract. You have a duty of care to both [Aluko and Sampson], and I think they forgot that."

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How did we get here?

Senior figures at the FA were in parliament on Wednesday to answer questions over their investigation into claims made by Aluko against Sampson.

Aluko initially made her claims in 2016 as part of an FA inquiry into its management culture.

The 30-year-old accused Sampson of belittling her and making racist remarks to both her and a team-mate. Aluko also said she suffered "victimisation as a result of reporting discrimination".

Sampson, 35, said his conscience was clear, and denied being a racist.

He was sacked in September after evidence of "inappropriate and unacceptable" behaviour with female players in a previous role.

Prior to the hearing on Wednesday, the FA issued an apology to Aluko and Spence in light of new evidence surrounding race remarks made by Sampson.

An independent barrister, Katharine Newton, ruled Sampson made unacceptable "ill-judged attempts at humour" on two occasions to the players.

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I'm not a racist - Sampson

What did the FA say during the hearing?

FA chief executive Martin Glenn issued the initial apology to Aluko and Spence at the beginning of his stint in front of the MPs.

He then defended the FA, saying it "went about it with the right spirit".

When pressed on whether the FA had failed in its duty of care, he said: "There have clearly been failings. I wouldn't want to then say the organisation is failing.

"We have 900 members of staff. On balance I think we do a good job."

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Lianne Sanderson said the FA had dealt with Eniola Aluko 'shambolically and disgracefully'

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