Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football

Neville escapes FA action and will hope worst is over

New England Women manager faced criticism on Wednesday over historical tweets.

England Women’s new head coach Phil Neville will hope to avoid further criticism after escaping punishment by the Football Association over historical tweets deemed to be sexist.

Campaign group Kick It Out branded Neville’s tweets from 2011 and 2012 “misogynistic and sexist”, but FA chief executive Martin Glenn said Neville’s comments did not “meet the threshold for issuing a charge”.

Neville, 41, avoided facing disciplinary action from his employers on his first full day in his new job, but criticism of the former England defender and the FA itself rained in on Wednesday.

An apology from Neville was drowned out by a chorus of disapproval of the decision to appoint him, given his complete lack of experience in the women’s game, and by many who considered his Twitter comments distasteful.

Neville tweeted in 2012 he did not expect women to have read his posts in a morning because they would be “preparing breakfast/getting kids ready/making the beds”.

It was also widely reported that in 2011 he tweeted he “just battered the wife!!! Feel better now!”.

Kick It Out chief executive Roisin Wood highlighted cases of the FA taking retrospective action over social media posts, and said: “The question must now be asked – will the FA be charging Neville for posting discriminatory comments on social media?”

In a letter to Wood, Glenn said the FA only learned of some of Neville’s tweets on Tuesday.

Glenn added: “I can also confirm that the assessment of the FA’s integrity/regulatory team is that those comments would not meet the threshold for issuing a charge against any participants but as part of the induction process, Phil will be educated on all aspects of the FA’s regulatory functions and his responsibilities thereunder.”

bpanews_176738a3-ff16-4ebf-851b-f9fec0f49b79_embedded225061570
Phil Neville during his time as Valencia coach

The Female Coaching Network said the FA had got its appointment “mind-blowingly wrong” and Women’s Aid also joined in the condemnation, saying such comments “can actually be extremely harmful.”

In a statement released on an FA Twitter account – he voluntarily deactivated his own – Neville said: “Following comments made a number of years ago I would like to clarify that they were not and are not a true and genuine reflection of either my character or beliefs, and would like to apologise.”

Neville’s wife Julie defended her husband in an Instagram post, describing him as “the most honest, kind, generous, gentle and hard-working man I have ever met”.

Sports minister Tracey Crouch said the FA needed to show transparency, welcomed Neville’s apology and said: “Sexism of any kind must not be tolerated.”

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph