The FA has apologised to two players after new evidence showed sacked England’s women’s boss Mark Sampson made remarks which were “discriminatory on the grounds of race”.
An independent barrister ruled Sampson made unacceptable “ill-judged attempts at humour” on two occasions, to Eniola Aluko and Drew Spence.
Katharine Newton said despite this, she did not believe he is racist.
She also concluded Aluko was not subjected to “a course of bullying”.
Newton’s initial report, completed in March, had cleared Sampson, but the new evidence led to her investigation being resumed.
And a report of the reopened investigation, which says Sampson had difficulty judging boundaries around banter, was released as FA bosses and Aluko faced a parliamentary inquiry on Wednesday.
The Chelsea striker said she felt “relieved” about the new report, adding: “It suggests it was kind of all worth it going through the trouble and having it vindicated.”
FA chief executive Martin Glenn said Sampson, who was paid nine months’ salary on his departure, may proceed with a wrongful dismissal claim.
He was sacked as England women’s boss last month after evidence of “inappropriate and unacceptable” behaviour with female players in a previous role.
Bordering on blackmail’ – Key points from hearing
- Aluko, who has been capped 102 times, said she had not received payment of an £80,000 settlement fee in full from the FA.
- “Martin Glenn said if I wrote a statement saying the FA were not institutionally racist he would release the second tranche of the money. I felt that was bordering on blackmail,” she said. Glenn denies asking her to do this.
- FA chairman Greg Clarke complains of “fluff about institutional racism” claims, then withdraws remark after MPs criticise.
- Aluko said she was “astonished” at an email from Clarke, in reply to a document about the case from the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), which read: “I’ve no idea why you are sending me this. Perhaps you could enlighten me?”
- The Nigeria-born striker accused England goalkeeping coach Lee Kendall of speaking to her in a fake Caribbean accent.
- Aluko said there had been “an agenda to protect Mark Sampson and an agenda to protect the FA’s reputation”.
- In a written submission to the inquiry, Aluko said she understood a black actress was hired to role-play “bad behaviour and a selfish attitude” with players – which she believed was meant to represent her.
- Committee member Jo Stevens MP told Clarke: “I’ve never heard such shambolic evidence about the governance of an organisation”.
- Clarke heavily criticised the PFA, accusing it of “walking away” from alcoholics and addicted gamblers while paying “millions on salaries”.