June 30, 2019 / 5:00 PM / 3 months ago

England's Neville says U.S. team breached etiquette with hotel visit

LYON, France (Reuters) - England manager Phil Neville has criticised the United States Soccer Federation for breaching etiquette by sending officials to the Lionesses’ hotel in Lyon ahead of Tuesday’s women’s World Cup semi-final.

Soccer Football - Women's World Cup - Quarter Final - England v Norway - England Press Conference - Stade Oceane, Le Havre, France - June 26, 2019 England manager Phil Neville during the press conference REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

American team staff visited the England hotel while Neville’s side were training on Sunday, with reports saying that their aim was to assess the venue as possible accommodation if they beat England and reach the final.

“The only thing I would say is it’s not something I’d want my team doing. It’s not something that England would do,” Neville told a news conference.

“We’re happy with our hotel and we were just training. So I hope they’re enjoying their hotel but it’s not something we’d do, send someone round to another team’s hotel,” he said.

Normal etiquette in tournament football is for the two teams to stay in separate accommodation and it is highly unusual for officials to step inside the opposition’s hotel.

Neville suggested his U.S. counterpart, Jill Ellis, would not have approved of the move.

“It’s their problem. I’m sure Jill won’t have been happy with that arrangement. I wouldn’t have been, if that was my team ops person going round and I’m sure she will be dealing with their own infrastructure with their own discipline,” he said.

But in an earlier news conference, when Ellis was asked if it was not “arrogant” for the U.S. to be planning a move into England’s accommodation with the presumption that they would win Tuesday’s game, she said it was simply prudent planning.

“You have to plan ahead. Arrogance has nothing to do with us, that’s planning preparation for our staff. I think that’s pretty normal,” she said

Former Manchester United player Neville said the issue was mainly one of etiquette.

“It’s not an unfair advantage, it has no bearing on the game. I actually found it quite funny. I just thought ‘what are they doing?’ It’s not etiquette. It’s not something I would allow from our organisation,” he said.

Reporting by Simon Evans and Christian Radnedge in Lyon; editing by Clare Fallon

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