England Women head coach Phil Neville to avoid FA charge over historical tweets
Last Updated: 24/01/18 8:49pm
The FA has defended its appointment of Phil Neville as head coach of England Women and confirmed he will not face a charge for historical tweets sent from his account six years ago.
One tweet from January 2012 read: "When I said morning men I thought the women would of [sic] been busy preparing breakfast/getting kids ready/making the beds-sorry women!"
The Football Association told Sky Sports News, on Tuesday, they were aware of Neville's tweets before making the appointment.
In a letter to Roisin Wood, CEO of Kick It Out, The FA's CEO Martin Glenn defended the FA's recruitment process, adding that background checks were done on Neville but that not all of the social media posts in question were revealed.
"The background vetting highlighted some but not all the historic[al] social media comments that have been brought to light," Glenn said.
"A thorough discussion about our expectations around standards and culture was part of the process.
"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.
"Phil will be educated on all aspects of the FA's regulatory functions and his responsibilities. 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."
Neville's statement on Tuesday read: "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.
"I am fully aware of my responsibilities as the England Women's Head Coach and am immensely proud and honoured to have been given the role. I am now looking forward to the future and will work tirelessly to try and help bring success to the team."
Neville's sister Tracey, who is England netball head coach, defended her brother and congratulated him in his new role.
Taking to Twitter, she wrote: "I have the most caring, thoughtful and most generous brothers ever. Phil will dedicate everything to this role and I couldn't be prouder.
"He has spent his life showing his support to me as a sister, athlete and coach."
I have the most caring, thoughtful and most generous brothers ever. Phil will dedicate everything to this role and I couldn’t be prouder😁 He has spent his life showing his support to me as a sister, athlete and coach #😘— Tracey Neville (@traceynev) January 24, 2018
Neville's appointment had led Sports Minister Tracey Crouch to urge the FA to be transparent when recruiting managers, saying: "While it is not my job to pick England managers, the FA needs to ensure that it has transparency around the process so that fans and football stakeholders alike are confident in it.
"It is right that Phil Neville has apologised for his ill-advised, historical remarks. Sexism of any kind must not be tolerated."
In his letter, Glenn outlined the FA's recruitment process, which was led by FA director of women's football Baroness Sue Campbell, and supported by FA head of women's performance David Faulkner and an external firm, while technical director Dan Ashworth also offered input.
Glenn said the search for a new coach had spanned over 30 countries and produced 145 potential names which was reduced to a long-list of 47 and further reduced to six candidates who were interviewed.
Two of these candidates were female, but Glenn admitted the FA's Rooney Rule policy was not used during the process.
Glenn said the FA turned to Neville after four candidates on the final shortlist, two of them female, withdrew from the selection process. Two of the four pulled out when told they would be undergoing background checks.