FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION official Kelly Simmons said yesterday that the Mark Sampson scandal and its fallout had been a “devastating time” for women’s football in England.
Simmons, head of participation and development, said it was “too early to tell” what kind of lasting effect the FA’s handling of the affair will have.
The FA’s response to allegations of racism against now-fired manager Sampson was described this week as “shambolic” by Kick It Out chair Lord Herman Ouseley.
Sampson was eventually fired, following a public outcry and further damning revelations about the FA’s conduct, for a years-old report into his
“inappropriate and unacceptable” behaviour with female players in 2014 when he managed Bristol Academy.
Simmons was yesterday drumming up support for the FA’s grassroots survey, to which 30,000 people responded last year.
She said it was “the best way for the two million people who play regularly to tell us what they need,” although it wasn’t clear whether “being believed” would be among the survey’s options.
It was reported late on Thursday that the FA had finally backed down on their insistence that England striker Eni Aluko write a statement saying that the FA was not institutionally racist before they would pay the second half of a £80,000 settlement.
Aluko had accused Sampson of bullying and racism and the money was to settle her complaint rather than risk a tribunal hearing.
Brokered by the PFA players’ union, the settlement was compensation for loss of future earnings — despite being the top scorer in the Women’s Super League, Aluko has not been picked for England since May 2016.
At a Commons hearing Aluko said the FA’s refusal to pay the second half was “bordering on blackmail.” The FA reportedly paid up shortly after that hearing.
In addition, FA chairman Greg Clarke has given a “profound” apology to PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor.
It followed Clarke alleging to MPs that the PFA was letting down survivors of sexual abuse, which Taylor rejected out of hand.