Major League Soccer

Phil Neville apologizes after accusing MLS referees of cheating

Lizzy Becherano
Phil Neville regrets accusing referees of cheating
Phil Neville regrets accusing referees of cheating / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Inter Miami head coach Phil Neville admitted he was wrong to accuse Major League Soccer referees of “cheating” after his side lost 1-0 to the New York Red Bulls. 

Neville’s comments come after the league issued him a fine for an undisclosed amount, claiming he violated the public criticism policy.

After Saturday’s match, Neville said the officials played a role in the team's losing streak and asked for a 'massive investigation' into how his side is treated.

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

"There has to be a massive investigation into the decisions given against Inter Miami. We want this to be the best league in the world, but we've got decisions like that. We've had our integrity questioned this year. We got stones thrown at us and had to take a lot of absolute s**t from a lot of people and had to accept it. I can't accept this, I've got to defend my club against something unjust and wrong. I feel we're being cheated.”

He has since apologized for the words used, retracting his thoughts. 

“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,” Neville said at a press conference.

“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 PRO referees [organization] 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.”

Inter Miami currently sit in 11th place on the Eastern Conference table, slipping away from a 2021 MLS playoff position with each passing match. The team has now lost five consecutive games, holding a record of 9-5-14.