FA dismisses Mark Sampson charge over alleged racist remark

Luke Edwards

A racism charge against Mark Sampson, the former manager of the England’s women team, has been dismissed after the allegations were found “unproven” at an FA hearing.

Sampson was charged by the FA in November after a complaint was made by the former Stevenage manager Dino Maamria and coach Ali Uzunhasanoglu who claimed he advised against signing a Nigerian centre back because “you can’t trust them.”

The allegations were made after Sampson, who had been first team coach under Maamria, was appointed caretaker manager following his dismissal back in September. Sampson has since been made permanent manager of the struggling League Two side and vigorously denied the allegations.

They also came after Sampson was forced to contact police after threats were made to him in the aftermath of him taking the manager’s role.

The charge was dismissed after Sampson had requested a personal hearing, with the FA commission deciding the evidence presented against him by Maamira and Uzunhasanoglu was unreliable.

“I am pleased the findings concur with our own internal investigation," said Stevenage chairman Phil Wallace.

Sampson has told Telegraph Sport that he had always denied making the comments and “hoped to be able to move on” with his life as he tries avoid relegation with Stevenage.

The case centred on a meeting between coaching staff on 2 September when, while discussing transfer targets, it was alleged that Sampson was heard to say: "You can't have a black Nigerian centre-back, you can't rely on them."

The independent commission heard that the alleged incident was not reported to the club or the FA by Uzunhasanoglu until more than a week after the meeting took place, and after both Maamria and Uzunhasanoglu had left their roles at the club.

However, it was determined that none of the evidence given by "any one of those who attended the meeting" was "compelling, or sufficiently compelling, to allow the commission to be confident that they could properly base a judgement upon it".

In the written reasons of the regulatory commission, it was noted: "This was not a case where it could sensibly be said that a witness had somehow been mistaken about what had, or had not, been said at the relevant time. Put simply, some of those giving evidence had lied.

"It is clear that misplaced loyalty and a willingness to be untruthful was an inescapable part of this case. Collusion of evidence, one way or another, was unattractively at play in this case."

The panel continued: "The commission found several parts of the evidence called by both of the parties to be lacking the cogency or reliability upon which to base a sound evidential assessment of the facts. The truth was unquestionably hard to find.

"The commission did not find the evidence of any one of those who attended the meeting compelling, or sufficiently compelling, to allow the commission to be confident that they could properly base a judgement upon it.

"Equally, consideration of the collective evidence called in respect of the two quite different versions of the same meeting, did not enable the commission to have that necessary confidence.”