LONDON: Mark Sampson has been sacked as England Women’s manager after evidence of “inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour” during his time in club football.
Sampson, 34, has in recent weeks been the subject of accusations of racism, harassment and bullying made by former England player Eni Aluko.
Yet the Football Association announced on Wednesday evening that Sampson is leaving the role with immediate effect following a historic safeguarding investigation into his conduct while manager of Bristol Academy.
Sampson, who last year agreed a new contract to remain as England Women’s manager until 2019, was informed of the Football Association’s decision on Wednesday afternoon.
An FA statement read: “The Football Association can confirm that Mark Sampson’s contract as England Women’s head coach has been terminated with immediate effect.
“Prior to taking charge of the national team in December 2013, Mark was manager of Bristol Academy. In 2014, safeguarding allegations were made against him about his time with Bristol.
“The safeguarding assessment was that he did not pose a risk working in the game. However, the full report of that investigation was only brought to the attention of the current FA leadership last week and it is our judgement that it revealed clear evidence of inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour by a coach.
“It is on this basis that we have acted quickly to agree a termination of Mark’s contract.”
The news came less than 24 hours after Sampson oversaw England’s 6-0 win against Russia at Prenton Park.
Sampson’s players appeared to show their support for him by running to celebrate a goal during their World Cup qualifier at Prenton Park.
Former Lionesses striker Eni Aluko then accused the England team of showing ”disrespect” following those celebrations.
Aluko is the player whose allegations led to Sampson’s alleged conduct being brought into focus.
Despite Sampson being cleared twice, by an FA review and an independent investigation, the issue has not gone away.
The FA has faced calls from anti-racism campaign group Kick It Out and the Professional Footballers’ Association to look again at the case.
Sampson took over as manager in 2013 and led England to successive semi-finals at the 2015 World Cup and the European Championships earlier this year.
Marieanne Spacey is early favourite to succeed Sampson.