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FA sorry over 'discriminatory' remarks made by ex-England women's coach Mark Sampson

Eniola Aluko (l), Mark Sampson (c) and Drew Spence (r). Credit: PA

The FA has apologised to two England women's team players after an internal investigation found their former coach made discriminatory remarks towards them.

Mark Sampson, 35, was found to have made "ill-judged attempts at humour" when speaking to players Eniola Aluko and Drew Spence.

Aluko, 30, claimed Sampson made an inappropriate comment about her Nigerian family having Ebola before an England match in 2014.

And Spence, 24, alleged Sampson made remarks about the number of times she had been arrested in a racial light.

The allegations came at a time when Sampson was already under the spotlight for inappropriate behaviour during his time at Bristol Academy - something which led to his departure from the national side.

Speaking on behalf of the FA, CEO Martin Glenn said the body wished to "sincerely apologise" to the striker and midfielder.

However Katherine Newton, who led the investigation, concluded that Sampson was "not a racist", and that Aluko had not been subjected to prolonged bullying.

Sampson was sacked as head coach last month over a separate matter after being found to have acted inappropriately.

Sampson was sacked as England boss last month. Credit: PA

In a statement, the FA concluded that Aluko and Spence had been "subject to discriminatory remarks".

"In her final report Katharine Newton concluded that on two separate occasions Mark Sampson made ill-judged attempts at humour, which as a matter of law were discriminatory on grounds of race within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010," Mr Glenn said.

"Katharine Newton did however conclude that Mark Sampson was not racist.

"She also concluded that there was no evidence to support the allegations that Eniola Aluko was subjected to “a course of bullying and discriminatory conduct” by Mark Sampson."

Martin Glenn said the FA 'apologised' to the two players. Credit: PA

Hours before Sampson was sacked on September 20, England recorded a 6-0 World Cup qualifier win over Russia.

The celebration scenes of the 11 players rushing towards Sampson drew criticism from Aluko, who accused teammates of showing her "disrespect".

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Despite Sampson's sacking, Aluko was not recalled to the England squad by new boss Mo Marley last week.