The FA has apologised to a former Charlton striker after a lawyer reversed her decision to say a former England manager made remarks that were 'discriminatory on the grounds of race'.

Barrister Katharine Newton was brought in by the Football Association in December 2016 to follow up an internal investigation into claims made by former Charlton Ladies striker Eniola Aluko.

The England international, who has not added to her 102 caps since last year, made several allegations against Mark Sampson who departed from the national team on September 20.

In a statement which responded to Newton’s latest report, FA chief executive Martin Glenn said: “On behalf of the Football Association I would like to sincerely apologise to Eniola Aluko and Drew Spence.

"Based on new evidence submitted to independent barrister Katharine Newton, she has now found that they were both subject to discriminatory remarks made by an FA employee.

“This is not acceptable."

Two key claims she made were about discriminatory comments that were allegedly made to her ahead of England’s fixture against Germany in 2014, and to her team-mate midfielder Drew Spence.

Newton first supported the FA’s verdict in March, believing that there was insufficient evidence to suggest whether Sampson made the remarks and cleared him of Aluko’s other claims of bullying and racism.

But now, after interviewing several new witnesses who were not involved in the first investigation, Newton has reversed the first part of her verdict.

This included both Aluko and Spence and after the barrister saw contemporaneous WhatsApp messages between players.

In the conclusion to her reopened investigation into the former Charlton forward’s claims, Newton said: “I have concluded that on two separate occasions, Mark Sampson has 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.

"However, that is not the same as concluding that Sampson is racist. In fact, I consider it fundamentally important to emphasise that I have not concluded Sampson is a racist."

Despite this, Newton has not changed her mind and believes Mr Sampson was innocent of bullying or picking on Aluko.

Sampson was sacked by the FA last month after having an ‘inappropriate’ relationship with a player while a coach at Bristol Academy in 2013.

Eniola Aluko played for Charlton Ladies between 2004 and 2007 before playing for four other clubs and featuring 102 times for the Three Lionesses, scoring 33 goals.