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Phil Neville: New England women’s boss will not face charge over sexist tweets


Phil Neville

The FA said the decision to delete Phil Neville’s Twitter account was his alone

England women’s head coach Phil Neville will not be charged over historical sexist remarks made on social media, the Football Association has said.

The comments – made in 2012 and 2011 – came to light in the media the same day he was appointed in his new role.

In a letter to Kick it Out, FA chief executive Martin Glenn said background checks were done on Neville but did not reveal the comments in question.

He added they “would not meet the threshold for issuing a charge”.

He also confirmed Neville, awarded a contract until 2021, would be warned about his future conduct but said the 41-year-old took the decision to delete his Twitter account alone.

“Phil will be educated on all aspects of the FA’s regulatory functions and his responsibilities,” Glenn wrote.

“He will also be warned that any future comments that are deemed to cross the charging threshold will be treated with the utmost seriousness and may lead to disciplinary action.”

He added: “The background vetting highlighted some but not all the historic social media comments. For clarity, we were only made aware of some of those comments through the media reporting [on Tuesday].”

  • Neville apologises after tweets criticised
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Neville apologised earlier on Wednesday after suggesting in one Tweet that women would be too “busy making breakfast/getting kids ready” to read his messages.

Other users picked up on comments Neville had made when interacting with his sister and with his wife – and one in which he joked he had “just battered the wife”.

The former Manchester United and Valencia coach, who has no experience in the women’s game, said his comments were not “a true and genuine reflection of either my character or beliefs”.

His wife Julie added in a post on Instagram: “In response to some of things I’ve been reading about my husband over the past 24 hours, I would like to point out that Phil is the most honest, kind, generous, gentle and hard working man I have ever met.”

‘Candidate search spanned 30 countries’

Glenn’s letter was written in reply to the chief executive of anti-discrimination body Kick it Out, Roisin Wood, after she asked whether Neville would be charged for making what appeared to be “misogynistic and sexist comments”.

Wood also said the organisation had serious concerns over the appointment “of someone with no record of management or experience in women’s football” and would be making representations to the FA.

But in his letter, Glenn outlined the recruitment process led by FA director of women’s football Sue Campbell, and supported by FA head of women’s performance David Faulkner, technical director Dan Ashworth and an external firm.

Glenn said the search for a coach with a minimum A-licence qualification, experience at the highest levels of the game and a preference for being English spanned 30 countries.

But he did admit that the recruitment process did not comply with the recent desire to conform with a so-called Rooney Rule.

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Giggs and Southgate react to Neville’s new England job

The search provided 145 candidates that were reduced to a long-list of 47, further reduced to a shortlist of six individuals who were interviewed.

That produced three external candidates – understood to be Manchester City women’s boss Nick Cushing, former Arsenal boss Laura Harvey and Canada coach John Herdman – and one internal candidate understood to be interim manager Mo Marley.

But Glenn said in his letter that Cushing, Harvey and Herdman withdrew for “personal reasons”, although all three gained new jobs. Marley also withdrew from the process and attempts to return to previous candidates proved unsuccessful for “similar reasons”.

“At this stage Sue identified Phil has a potential candidate due to his position as a Pro-Licence holder on the FA’s player-to-coach programme,” Glenn wrote. “She was immediately impressed by his technical expertise, his outstanding leadership and his desire for the role.

“He then went through background vetting, psychometric testing, and a full technical assessment. His appointment was approved by the FA board.”