London (AFP) – Mark Sampson is set to step down as coach of the England women’s football team after almost a year of controversy over allegations of racism and harassment, the BBC reported on Wednesday.
The 34-year-old — whose side whipped Russia 6-0 in their World Cup qualifier on Tuesday — has twice been cleared over the claims made last year by former star Eniola Aluko concerning racial discrimination, bullying and harassment.
Sampson, who guided England to the semi-finals of both the 2015 World Cup and this year’s European Championships, including a famous win on penalties over old foes Germany, had strongly denied all the allegations and said earlier this month he had a “clear conscience”.
The Football Association — who have faced calls from anti-racism campaign group Kick It Out and the Professional Footballers’ Association to look again at the case — should reveal more about his surprise decision at a press conference later on Wednesday.
Nigeria-born Aluko, who is a qualified lawyer, kept up her attacks on him right to the end, lambasting her former team-mates for running to him after they opened the scoring in Tuesday’s match.
“The same players who unanimously voted me as their representative to discuss the teams central contracts with the FA. A benefit for all,” tweeted Aluko regarding the celebration.
“It goes without saying I’m delighted, relieved, blessed to be sat where I am right now. Blessings in disguise are often the best blessings.
“For the most together team in the world tonight’s ‘message’ only shows a level of disrespect that represents division and selfish action.”
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