LONDON: Damian Collins believes the the four Football Association bosses who faced his parliamentary committee yesterday over the Mark Sampson affair should consider resigning.
FA chairman Greg Clarke, chief executive Martin Glenn, technical director Dan Ashworth and HR director Rachel Brace were interrogated by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee for two embarrassing hours.
The panel of 11 MPs examined what checks were made on Sampson before he became England Women’s manager, why the FA was withholding half of an £80,000 settlement to whistle-blower Eni Aluko and the governing body’s handling of the surrounding bullying, racism and sex discrimination allegations.
Glenn began with an apology to Aluko and England team-mate Drew Spence for racist remarks Sampson had finally been found to have made, but refused to accept the FA’s entire response was flawed.
After the hearing, when asked if the FA officials should consider their positions, Collins said: “Yes, I think they have to look very carefully at the evidence given today.
“I think it was disappointing that not even until right at the end was Greg Clarke prepared to admit the FA should apologise for failings in its process – quite serious failings in a process the individuals on that panel were responsible for.
“It’s disappointing that not one of the people who had responsibility for taking charge of that process was prepared to admit they got it wrong. Therefore, you have to question if they are the right people to take the organisation forward.”
Collins said he and his colleagues were also “not convinced” by the FA’s arguments. He said they want to see what advice the governing body has received from its lawyers Farrer & Co and are “staggered” Aluko has not received all of the settlement money she is owed.
The Conservative MP also described the FA’s first investigation into Aluko’s complaint, which was conducted by Ashworth and Brace in 2016, as “woefully inadequate” and said Clarke’s quickly withdrawn comment that claims of institutional racism at Wembley were “fluff” was “extraordinary”.
Collins added: “The question should be: does what you’ve seen today inspire confidence and do they understand the issues well enough to put in place the right systems to ensure it doesn’t happen again? And I’m not convinced.”
Ashworth was on the interview panel that hired Sampson in 2013, acted as his line manager and signed off on his completion of training ordered by the FA’s safeguarding unit after a year-long investigation which concluded in 2015.
Brace only joined last year, but she still allowed Ashworth to effectively vouch for Sampson in an employee grievance procedure he was meant to be leading.