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Uncertainty over Phil Neville’s Olympic Future

Publish Date:24/04/2020
Fact checked by: Jordan Noble

Phil Neville’s future as the coach of the Great Britain women’s football team for the Olympic Games hangs in the balance.

The Games have been postponed until next summer, which means that they start after Neville’s current contract with the Football Association expires.

Neville is also the head coach of the England Women’s team, and it was announced on Friday morning that he will see out the full term of his contract.

That contract runs until July 2021, but the Olympics are scheduled to start on July 23 next year now after being postponed from this summer.

An FA statement confirmed that Neville was:  “Committed to honouring the full term of his contract with the FA, which will see him leave the role in July 2021.”

Questions over Team GB involvement

But there is still some vagueness about what that means for Neville’s role with Team GB.

The FA’s director of women’s football, Sue Campbell, has asserted that the priority remains that the England women’s team will have “continuity of coaching” heading into the Women’s Euro 2021 tournament.

UEFA have confirmed that that tournament has now been pushed back to take place in 2022.

The tournament will now run from July 6 to 31, 2022, in England. The original venues planned to be used in the tournament will be used in the rescheduled event.

This mirrors the postponement of the men’s Euro 2024 competition until the summer of 2021.

Campbell also stressed that Neville will resume his role with the England women’s team, also known as the Lionesses, as he is to continue the development of his squad.

The FA will also work with Neville as part of the process of arranging a successor to the former Manchester United and Everton fullback.

“We will now discuss next steps with the British Olympic Association and the home nations with regard to Team GB Football and we are not in a position to make any further comment at this time,” said Campbell.

Neville has insisted that he is now looking forward to getting into the work required to prepare his squad for the rescheduled tournament in 2021.

Neville's patchy record in charge

The 43-year-old has been in post since January 2018, when he was awarded a contract that was set to run until the summer of 2021.

Highlights of his spell in charge have included winning the SheBelieves Cup in 2019, and a fourth-placed finish at the 2019 World Cup.

Since then, things have taken a turn for the worse, however.

After beating Norway in the quarter-final of the World Cup, the Lionesses have lost seven of 11 games, and failed to retain the SheBelieves Cup in March of this year.

In total, Neville has overseen 35 games in charge of the Lionesses. Of those games, the team won 19, lost 11 and drew five, giving Neville an overall win percentage of 54%.

His predecessor, Mark Sampson, won 38 of 59 games, giving him a win percentage of 64%.

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