Former England Women's coach Mark Sampson apologises for Aluko, Spence remarks

Mark Sampson, the former England Women's coach, has apologised unreservedly to Eni Aluko and Drew Spence for comments he made while in charge of the national side.

Sampson was found in October 2017 to have "on two separate occasions made ill-judged attempts at humour, which, as a matter of law, were discriminatory on the grounds of race," following an inquiry by the independent barrister Katharine Newton.

He was sacked as England manager in September the previous year after allegations of "inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour" while in charge of Bristol Academy.

The Football Association then reached a settlement with the 36-year-old after he brought a case of unfair dismissal against the governing body.

"I believed strongly that the way the team worked, if I had said something that offended anyone, it would have been brought up at the time," Sampson told the Times.

"I was wrong. Ultimately two players were offended by language I used. For that I apologise to Drew and Eni unreservedly.

"When players made complaints, they needed to be handled with the respect they deserved.

"I don't think it was handled with the humility that it should have been by a lot of people ... I should have played a much more active role to ensure they were handled more respectfully. That's a big regret I will always have."

Information from Reuters was used in this report.