Phil Neville says it was 'one-off' after fuming meltdown saw under-pressure Inter Miami boss accuse MLS refs of cheating

PHIL NEVILLE says his furious rant at MLS referees earlier this week was a 'one-off'.

The Inter Miami boss was fuming after his team had a goal disallowed in a 1-0 defeat at New York Red Bulls and blasted the league's officials for repeatedly 'cheating' his team.

He has since been fined and assured league chiefs his behaviour will not be repeated.

The 44-year-old said: "After the game I said the things that I said in the emotions of losing a really important game.

"And, in terms of feelings of the last two or three games, feeling a bit hard done by a couple of decisions that didn’t go our way.

“I used the wrong terminology to describe how I felt.

"I used the wrong word — cheat — which should never be used towards officials or in games of football.

"I had really good dialogue with both MLS and the Professional Referees Organisation referees in terms of the decisions, my behaviour, the word used, and the respect that is needed from both sides, and obviously my assurance that this was just a one-off.”


Former Chelsea and Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain looked to have drawn Miami level on the hour mark but it was flagged offside against Red Bulls.

The 33-year-old was played in down the right hand channel, cut in on his left and saw his left-footed strike deflect in off the defender.

But it was called offside by the on-field linesman and the video official confirmed it was the correct call.

Miami could not claw their way back and fell to their third successive 1-0 defeat – after recent losses by the same scoreline to Atlanta United and Portland.

And Neville was seething after the game.

Starting his press conference, he said he would 'go full barrel' before calling for a 'massive investigation about some of the decisions that get given against Inter Miami'.


He went on: "We got cheated in Portland and we’ve been cheated again.

"I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but something is fundamentally wrong with the way referees treat Inter Miami.

"We’re playing in one of the best leagues in the world, and I’m having a great experience, but I’ve got a dressing room that’s asking real, real questions about the integrity of this league in terms of the decisions we keep getting."

The Professional Soccer Referees Association, a labour union representing more than 200 officials in North America, was outraged by Neville's comments.

Executive director Steve Taylor said on Wednesday: "The PSRA is very disappointed both in Mr. Neville’s comments and behaviour, which we find to be unprofessional and reprehensible, and also in the outcome from commissioner [Don] Garber.

“There’s lots of cases where there are suspensions for far less than using the word '`cheat' or a variation of that word eight times in an 11-minute press conference.

"Our officials do not cheat, and no one was robbed. We come to work every day and don’t care who wins or loses.

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"To suggest otherwise is reprehensible in our opinion and potentially criminal, as a matter of fact.

“But the commissioner saw fit to issue a fine and that’s that.

“I have been involved with this league from the very first day and I cannot recall a situation that is as severe as this one in terms of coach behavior and implying and flatly stating that referees are cheating."


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