Ex-England coach '˜threatened female Uefa official with pole'

Former England women's coach Mark Sampson was being investigated for intimidating a female Uefa official with a metal pole at the 2017 European Championship before he was fired.
Former England women's coach Mark Sampson. Picture: Joel Auerbach/APFormer England women's coach Mark Sampson. Picture: Joel Auerbach/AP
Former England women's coach Mark Sampson. Picture: Joel Auerbach/AP

Uefa yesterday revealed the details of the disciplinary case that led to Sampson being banned for three games for “insulting, aggressive and insistent actions,” including profane abuse.

European football’s governing body concluded its case on 21 September, the day after the English Football Association fired him for “inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour” in a separate case focusing on relations with female players in a previous job.

The FA declined to comment yesterday.

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Sampson provided statements to Uefa on 1 September about the incidents after England’s 3-0 loss to the Netherlands in the semi-finals on 3 August. The Uefa report included multiple expletives.

An hour into the match, Uefa said Sampson was “verbally
abusive” toward the venue director, telling her: “You better sit down.”

Sampson was then accused of confronting referee liaison officer Fijke Hoogendijk after the game outside the referee changing room. Sampson “approached her and shouted aggressively at her and with aggressive body language,” Uefa said.

Summarising details of the case, Uefa said Sampson was shouting at Hoogendijk and calling her a “disgrace”.

The disciplinary report continued: “He then picked up a metal pillar raising it above his head aggressively before throwing it down hard against the floor. Fijke was concerned he was going to strike her. ... Fijke felt intimidated and offended by his actions.”

The FA denied that Sampson lifted the pole above his head, telling Uefa that it would have been impossible given its weight. Sampson apologised for his use of inappropriate language but denied saying 
he would shut the door in Hoogendijk’s face.

According to Uefa, the FA claimed that “the build-up to the game had been particularly stressful with travel to the stadium disrupted and preparation time considerably reduced”.

But Uefa’s disciplinary body concluded that Sampson’s conduct was of “great concern” as he “threatened the integrity” of an official.

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“The language he used and his attitude grossly violated the basic rules of decent conduct and his behaviour was insulting,” Uefa said.

In October, the FA concluded its own investigation into Sampson’s conduct while he was coaching the team and found that he had directed racially discriminating remarks at two of his players.

Sampson was replaced as England coach by former Manchester United player Phil Neville.