England Women boss Mark Sampson will today hold his first press conference since accusations of racism and bullying against him were made public.
Sampson was cleared of any wrongdoing, with regard to striker Eni Aluko’s claims, by both an internal Football Association review and an independent investigation. Last week he broke his silence on the matter to insist his “conscience is clear”, and expressed his desire to move on.
Senior Football Association executives will reportedly face a parliamentary inquiry over the investigations.
The England squad meet up ahead of next Tuesday’s opening World Cup qualifier against Russia at Tranmere’s Prenton Park. They will train at St George’s Park this week with Sampson battling to win over those still siding with Chelsea striker Aluko.
She raised a grievance and Sampson, who denied the allegations, was cleared on all counts by an FA review and an independent investigation.
The Professional Footballers’ Association and anti-racism campaigners Kick It Out have also called for further examination of Aluko’s claims.
Sampson told Press Association Sport last week: “I’ve made it very clear, from the moment I spoke with Eni face to face (to say) that she would be left out of the squad, that at any point I’d be available to meet again.
“As with any England player, I’m open to a phone call or a sit-down conversation to discuss whatever they feel they need to discuss to help us move forward as a team.”
Within days of Aluko giving evidence to the FA review in May 2016, she was dropped by England and has not been recalled. Sampson told the 102-cap striker she was left out for “unlioness behaviour” but has denied that related in any way to her evidence, which was provided to the FA by Aluko on a confidential basis.
Chelsea Ladies captain Katie Chapman last week waded into the furore by suggesting she had not been picked for her country since telling Sampson that she was getting a divorce.
The 35-year-old midfielder, a mother to three boys aged between four and 14, earned the last of her 94 caps in April last year.