The FA has apologised to two players after new evidence found Mark Sampson, England women’s boss, made comments which were “discriminatory on the grounds of race” within the Equality Act 2010.
He was sacked last month after evidence arose of “inappropriate and unacceptable” behaviour with female players in his previous job at Bristol City Women.
Katharine Newton, an independent barrister, concluded that Sampson made unacceptable “ill-judged attempts at humour” on two occasions to Eniola Aluko and Drew Spence but despite these, she does not believe he is a racist or that that Aluko was subjected to “a course of bullying”.
Her initial report cleared Sampson of the accusations but new evidence led to her investigation being resumed.
Chelsea striker Aluko accused Sampson of making racist remarks to her and a team-mate in the form of a comment about her Nigerian family and the Ebola virus. She added that she suffered “victimisation as a result of reporting discrimination”.
She was pleased with the new report, telling the court, “My emotion is just relief as it’s been a long process getting to this point. I’m not architect or engineer of this situation. I’ve been put in it. I’m a human being and I feel relieved. It suggests it was kind of all worth it going through the trouble and having it vindicated.”
She added that she had felt “isolated” during the case.
“I didn’t want it to be as adversarial as it became – the FA versus Aluko if you like. I had a very good relationship with the FA up until two years ago. That disappointments me.”
FA chief executive Martin Glenn responded in a statement, saying: “Our ambition has always been to find the truth and take swift and appropriate action if needed. It was our decision to have the original, second, and final investigation to ensure that due diligence was taken.
“It is regrettable that Eniola did not participate in the first external investigation as this would have enabled Katharine Newton to conduct and complete her investigation sooner.”