Stevenage coach Sampson's racism charge 'not proven' as FA conclude investigation
PUBLISHED: 14:23 20 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:58 20 January 2020
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Stevenage FC coach Mark Sampson's FA charge of using racist language has been found "not proven" after a full investigation.
The 37-year-old was charged in November for a breach of FA Rule E3 after an allegation by a former manager Dino Maamria and goalkeeping coach Ali Uzunhasanoglu.
According to the FA's report, the pair alleged that during a meeting at the club's training ground on September 2 last year, Sampson remarked of transfer target William Edjengulele that: "You can't have a black Nigerian centre back, you can't rely on them."
The investigation found the allegation against Sampson was not proven, with their report determining that none of the evidence given by "any one of those who attended the meeting" was "compelling, or sufficiently compelling, to allow the commission to be confident that they could properly base a judgement upon it".
In an official club statement, Stevenage chairman Phil Wallace said: "The not proven outcome was obvious to us after a very thorough investigation of the facts four months ago.
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"I am pleased that the panels 17 pages of findings issued today concur with our own internal investigation conducted in September.
"I am delighted that Mark is now able to concentrate fully on his future and not be troubled by allegations made by former manager Dino Maamria and former coach Ali Uzunhasanoglu after they had been dismissed.
"The club have stood shoulder to shoulder with Mark because the evidence presented by those independents present at the time conflicted with the allegation.
"Our club will never tolerate racism and we implement the EFL Equality Code of Practice to manage the club and safeguard the nine key protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010, but that doesn't mean we will stand ildly by if we feel allegations are being used for a purpose."
In 2017, Sampson was cleared of any wrongdoing following discrimination allegations made by players during his time as England Women's boss.
The FA went on to apologise to Eniola Aluko and Drew Spence after an independent barrister ruled he made unacceptable "ill-judged attempts at humour" on two occasions.
Sampson reached a settlement with the FA for unfair dismissal last year.