FA under fire from MPs after apologies to women players

FA Chief Executive Martin Glenn apologises to Eniola Aluko and Drew Spence after a report concluded the players were subject to discriminatory remarks by their former manager.

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (OCTOBER 18, 2017) (PARLIAMENT TV) – The Football Association made a public apology to England women’s soccer internationals Eniola Aluko and Drew Spence on Wednesday (October 18) for comments that were “discriminatory on grounds of race” made to them by former manager Mark Sampson.

Senior FA officials later admitted to failings as they came under fire from MPs at a four-hour parliamentary inquiry where they were also accused by experienced international Aluko of having had an “agenda” to protect Sampson and their reputation.

An investigation by an independent barrister, which prompted the FA apology, also concluded that the 35-year-old Sampson, who was sacked by the FA last month for “inappropriate and unacceptable” behaviour in a previous job, was not racist.

Aluko told the hearing she felt “vindicated and relieved” that an investigation had concluded that Sampson, who has denied the allegations and been cleared of discrimination by two inquiries, had been judged to have made the remarks.

Aluko had claimed that Sampson had told her to be careful that her Nigerian relatives did not bring the Ebola virus with them when they came to watch a game at Wembley.

Spence, a mixed-race player, alleged that after being called up to the England team in 2015 she was asked by Sampson how many times she had been arrested.

At the parliamentary hearing, Glenn, one of four senior FA officials giving evidence, defended the way the FA had gone about resolving the Sampson matter but admitted: “There have clearly been failings.”