England coach vows to improve communication skills

Date published: Friday 18th August 2017 8:41

England manager Mark Sampson has acknowledged a need to improve his communication skills after being cleared of racial discrimination, bullying and harassment.

Striker Eni Aluko made a series of allegations against Sampson in a complaint about his behaviour to the Football Association.

Sampson was cleared of any wrongdoing following an independent inquiry commissioned by the FA.

Barrister Katharine Newton accepted credible “non-discriminatory explanations” for Sampson’s conduct after investigating each of the allegations.

In a statement released by the FA, Sampson said: “I fully understood and welcomed the need for an internal review and an independent investigation by an expert on employment and discrimination law.

“It’s incredibly important that matters like this are taken extremely seriously and investigated in the right way – with the right level of sensitivity and support for all involved.

“The barrister’s final report said there was no case to answer and noted that my approach to all players is the same regardless of their background.

“I also appreciated that the report highlighted areas where I could improve my general communication style, and that is something I have taken on board and looked to improve.”

Aluko, 30, won 102 caps and scored 33 goals for England before falling out of favour last year. She went on to raise grievances which detailed accusations of inappropriate comments and behaviour she believed belittled her from Sampson and other coaching staff.

It was reported earlier this week that while Sampson was exonerated, Aluko received a five-figure sum in an agreement to avoid disruption to England’s recent Women’s Euro 2017 preparations. The FA stressed this “mutual resolution” was not to prevent disclosure and that Aluko, who remains centrally contracted, was free to speak publicly about the matter.

Following “continued media interest” in the matter, the FA has now decided to publish a detailed summary of the report compiled by barrister Newton.

This details that the inquiry looked into eight specific allegations by Aluko as well as an ‘umbrella’ allegation of “bullying, belittling and discriminatory conduct”.

With regards to the accusation of racial abuse, this was allegedly directed at a team-mate of Aluko’s. Sampson was alleged to have used an analogy about pressing hard in midfield and getting a caution like a police caution.

He was then said to have addressed the player by saying, “Haven’t you been arrested before then, four times isn’t it?”

The inquiry, which had access to video evidence, concluded: “The sound is clear and there are no references to police cautions or anyone being arrested, let alone a suggestion directly to the player in question that she has been arrested.”

The report added: “Mark Sampson has no recollection of making the comment and says he cannot imagine suggesting to a player that they have been arrested.”

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