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Stevenage interim boss Mark Sampson charged by FA over alleged racist remark

Stevenage caretaker manager Mark Sampson has been charged by the Football Association with making an allegedly racist comment.

The former England Women head coach, who took interim charge at the Hertfordshire club in September, is accused of making the remark about a player during a conversation about transfer targets.

A statement from the FA released on Wednesday read: “Mark Sampson has been charged with a breach of FA Rule E3.

“It is alleged that a comment made by the Stevenage FC caretaker manager breached FA Rule E3(1) as it was improper and/or abusive and/or insulting.

“It is further alleged that the comment also constitutes an ‘aggravated breach’, which is defined in FA Rule E3(2), as it referenced ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race and/or nationality.”

The FA said Sampson has until December 6 to respond to the charge.

Stevenage said in September that an internal investigation into the matter had found that there was no case for Sampson to answer.

The club said at the time that the allegation was reported to the FA by phone “by a former coach the day after he was told by Sampson that he no longer required his services at the club”.

Stevenage chief executive Phil Wallace said in September: “Like every professional club, no matter where the complaint comes from, we follow strict procedures, which were followed to the letter.

“The claimant was offered the chance to make a formal complaint but declined this opportunity, instead choosing to call the FA.

“Nevertheless, CEO Alex Tunbridge acted immediately to interview and take statements from two individuals the claimant said were witnesses, as well as others that were present in the same meeting, but not mentioned by the claimant.”

Wallace added: “In each case the witnesses did not support the allegations. Given that overwhelming outcome and the circumstances of the allegation, the club concluded there was no case to answer.

“Perhaps now that the FA have the evidence, they will make it clear there is no case to answer.”

Sampson took interim charge of the Hertfordshire club on September 9 following the sacking of Dino Maamria.

The 37-year-old Welshman was sacked as England Women head coach by the FA in September 2017 following allegations of “inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour” in his previous role as manager at Bristol Academy.

He had also been the focus of bullying and racism claims, first made by Eni Aluko and then Drew Spence.

The FA said the allegations were investigated and Sampson was cleared of any wrongdoing.

But Sampson, who reached a financial settlement with the FA over his dismissal in January this year, conceded he should have handled the claims differently, saying it would always be a “big regret” and apologising unreservedly to the two players.