January 24, 2018 / 1:20 PM / a year ago

Soccer-England women's coach Phil Neville apologises for controversial tweets

Jan 24 (Reuters) - New England women’s head coach Phil Neville apologised on Wednesday for controversial comments he had made in the past on social media about women.

After being named by the Football Association as successor to former England boss Mark Sampson on Tuesday, the 41-year-old attracted criticism for tweets posted on his Twitter account in 2012.

One such tweet said: “Morning men couple of hours cricket be4 (sic) work sets me up nicely for the day.”

Asked why he only referred to men in his post, he replied: “When I said morning men I thought the women would of been busy preparing breakfast/getting kids ready/making the beds-sorry morning women!”

The former England and Manchester United defender deleted the posts and took down his Twitter account after taking up his new role. A statement, released by the FA, included quotes from Neville explaining his actions.

“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 said.

“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.”

The anti-discrimination group Kick It Out expressed concerns over Neville’s appointment in a strongly-worded statement of their own on Wednesday, urging the FA to take comprehensive action.

“The appointment of Phil Neville as Head Coach of the England Women’s Senior Team ultimately raises more questions than answers for The Football Association,” Kick It Out CEO Roisin Wood said.

“In light of recent action taken in response to historical social media comments made by current football participants, the question must now be asked – will The FA be charging Neville for posting discriminatory comments on social media?

“We believe that if The FA wants to recover the confidence of the public, it must ensure that the concerns surrounding Phil Neville’s appointment are comprehensively addressed.” (Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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