Scrutiny over Phil Neville’s Inter Miami appointment

On 18th January, Phil Neville was appointed as head coach of Inter Miami. He was tipped for the job beforehand so his appointment wasn’t a surprise but the process to get that far as been under scrutiny by the footballing media and fans alike. Most questions centre on potential nepotism as the club is owned by Neville’s former Manchester United teammate David Beckham. They also own co-owners of Salford City as part of Project 92 Limited. One of the other co-owners is Peter Lim, current owner of Valencia CF where Phil Neville was assistant manager in 2015, deputising for his brother, Gary, during his time (he’d been an assistant under two managers before that). Gary is also a co-owner of Salford City.

A lot of connections.

To add further entanglements to the web, a few sports journalists have asked about the recruitment process as the Rooney Rule is applicable for all technical roles.

Here’s Grant Wahl’s attempt:

And this from Bob Williams:

If Phil Neville is the best candidate for the role, then either the pool was poor—in which case Inter Miami didn’t do a good enough job of making that pool better—or (un)conscious bias was involved. I wasn’t impressed with Neville’s performance as coach of the England women’s team both in his inability to deal with problem areas on the pitch and his press conferences. I also believe the scope for talent in the MLS from a technical perspective is the best it’s ever been and Inter Miami never gave the other candidates a chance.

None of what I or anyone else thinks will change Mas and Beckham’s decision but Neville’s tenure, however long, will have this hanging over it.

Related: Racial bias in football commentary and why you don’t see any Black players representing Argentina in football.

(Featured image courtesy of James Boyes via CC BY 2.0)

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