Lionesses manager vows to carry on and insists his ‘conscience is clear’ as he offers to meet disgruntled striker to help ‘move forward as a team’
MARK SAMPSON says his “conscience is clear” after allegations of bullying, discrimination and racism made by striker Eni Aluko.
A Football Association inquiry cleared the England Women’s boss of the claims, as did an independent investigation.
And he stated his intention to carry on leading the country when he faced the media on Tuesday for the first time since the sour affair came to light.
The 34-year-old said: “I’ve had universal support from the players and the staff.
“I’ve been cleared of any wrongdoing. There’s been no wrongdoing on my part.”
“As far as I’m concerned, over the course of the last six months I’ve answered all the questions that have been asked of me, and done everything I can to make sure I’ve told the truth.
“These allegations were investigated thoroughly and now we’re in a position where I feel strongly that we need to move on and continue to work hard to bring more success to this team.”
The 30-year-old Chelsea ace Aluko has not added to her 102 caps since making the allegations as part of an FA inquiry into its management culture last year.
She subsequently made a grievance claim against the governing body and later reached a settlement of around £80,000 – a payment the FA said was to avoid the threat of an employment tribunal disrupting squad preparations ahead of Euro 2017.
But Sampson did offer an olive branch to Aluko and her international career.
He added: “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.”
England start their World Cup qualification campaign on September 19 against Russia at Tranmere Rovers.
Sampson was speaking to the Press Association and Sky Sports after turning down requests for interviews from other media outlets.
Keep up to date with all the latest news, gossip, rumours and done deals in SunSport’s LIVE transfer blog