Sports | July 1, 2019 4:46 pm

England Coach Hints USWNT Officials Were Spying at Team Hotel

United States' head coach Jill Ellis (L) and England's head coach Phil Neville. (Franck FIFE/ AFP/Getty)
United States' head coach Jill Ellis (L) and England's head coach Phil Neville. (Franck FIFE/ AFP/Getty)
AFP/Getty Images

Apparently “Spygates” aren’t just limited to American football.

Ahead of his team’s semifinal match against the United States in the World Cup on Tuesday, England head coach Phil Neville criticized the etiquette of officials of the U.S. Women’s National Team after he felt they were spying on his squad at their hotel.

Nevertheless, the move drew the ire of Neville as he went so far as to suggest it possibly should be a disciplinary matter.

On Sunday while the English team was out at practice, some of the members of the USWNT’s administrative staff, who are staying at the Residence Lyon Métropole, visited the Fourvière Hotel. And they had a good reason to do so as the team will move to the Fourvière to prepare for Sunday’s final if they are able to defeat England.

“It’s not something I would want my team’s operations doing. England would not do it,” Neville told reporters, per The Guardian. “I am happy with our hotel and we were training. I hope they enjoyed our hotel. It is not something we would do, send somebody round, but it is their problem. [U.S. coach] Jill Ellis wouldn’t have been happy and nor would I have been and I am sure she will be dealing with that infrastructure within her discipline.”

Some may have read into the hotel visit as a sign of American arrogance, but Ellis said that was not the case.

“The only two people that think of planning ahead on my team is my administrator because she has to book all the flights and everything and do all that stuff, and her boss, and everybody else, we don’t worry about that,” Ellis said. “I think that’s important to do your job. So in terms of arrogance, I think that’s got nothing to do with us. That’s planning and preparation for our staff. So I think that’s pretty normal.”

Normal or not, the unplanned visit clearly had Neville and his squad on edge during practice on Monday as they had someone who was watching their practice on Monday removed from the area.

The much-anticipated semifinal match will kick off at 3 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon.

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