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Old 20th October 2017, 12:32   #1
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Default Kick It Out says response by FA’s Clarke to PFA’s Sampson letter was ‘disgraceful’

Kick It Out says response by FA’s Clarke to PFA’s Sampson letter was ‘disgraceful’

• Herman Ouseley ‘shocked’ the response was in form of 14-word email
• Complaint should have brought closure within days, says Kick It Out chairman

Daniel Taylor
The Guardian
Wednesday 18 October 2017 00.40 BST

Herman Ouseley, the chairman of Kick It Out, has described himself as “shocked” by the revelations about how Greg Clarke, one of the Football Association executives to be grilled at a parliamentary hearing over the Mark Sampson affair on Wednesday, responded to allegations that the governing body had been guilty of a cover-up.

Ouseley said it was “disgraceful” that Clarke’s response to a six-page letter from the Professional Footballers’ Association setting out a series of allegations about two senior FA employees, as well as informing him of new complaints about Sampson and another member of staff from the England Women’s set-up, came in the form of a 14-word email.

That email – “I’ve no idea why you are sending me this. Perhaps you could enlighten me?” – has shocked and angered many of the people who are working on the case and left the FA chairman open to allegations that he badly misjudged the seriousness of the issue relating to Eni Aluko and her team-mate Drew Spence.

The latest revelations are also likely to leave Clarke, the FA chairman, facing some difficult questions when he appears in front of the digital, culture, media and sport select committee and Ouseley said he was baffled that someone in such a position of authority could respond to a highly sensitive issue in such a “dismissive” way.

“I was shocked to read this new revelation,” Ouseley said. “I’m so completely shocked by all of this because this complaint could have been resolved [by the FA] from day one. My view is that this complaint should have been dealt with in a way that would have brought closure within days. Having compounded all their mistakes by responding in this manner to the complainant’s representatives has shocked me completely.”

As the Guardian revealed on Monday, Clarke was one of four FA executives to be sent a letter from the PFA alleging that the governing body’s technical director, Dan Ashworth, and the director of human resources, Rachel Brace, had overseen a “sham” internal review that was “not a genuine search for the truth” and “designed to close down the complaint and absolve Mark Sampson”.

The letter was sent in November 2016 and accused the FA of deliberately sabotaging Aluko’s 11-year international career to protect Sampson as well as setting out a series of grievances detailing “the incontrovertible evidence that makes it clear the purported investigation was a sham”.

It was the first time the FA had been informed of a previously unreported allegation that Sampson – already accused of offending Spence, a mixed-raced player, by asking how many times she had been arrested – had also made an allegedly racial remark involving Aluko’s Nigerian relatives and the Ebola virus.

Sampson, who was sacked last month, with the FA citing an old safeguarding report, denies all the allegations and has been cleared by the previous two inquiries – one staged by the FA and another, independently, by the barrister Katharine Newton. The second investigation was reopened a few weeks ago amid criticism of Newton’s work, not least from Ouseley, and the revised findings are likely to be revealed during Wednesday’s hearing.

Ouseley praised the media coverage for keeping the spotlight on the FA since the Guardian broke the story in August that the case involved racial allegations from 2015. “This thing had gone cold, completely cold,” he said, “if [the reporting] had not put it in the public domain, who would have known?”

He also expects the MPs will want a full explanation from Clarke about his response to the PFA. “If this is going to be probed in the way I think it should be, maybe we will get some answers. I am shocked to find an organisation that could have solved this problem from the word go and knowing how lamentably they had handled it, if they had that realisation, would respond in such a disgraceful manner.”

Clarke has not commented but the FA released a statement on Monday saying his email, which came 28 minutes after the PFA initiated the exchange, was delivered after he had made internal checks to ascertain everything was in hand.

“Once Greg Clarke had received the letter he checked with his executive team as to what actions were being taken regarding the allegations,” the FA said in a statement. “At this point there had been an internal inquiry and Katharine Newton was about to be appointed to lead an independent second inquiry. He was therefore satisfied that the FA was taking the matter very seriously and acting appropriately.”
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King
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