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22nd Mar 2017

Phil Neville quickly deletes controversial tweet about Pierluigi Collina

Quickly regretted the decision to post this

Darragh Murphy

Phil Neville doesn’t say many controversial things.

Older brother Gary tends to have more of a reputation for putting his neck on the line with his stances on footballing issues while Phil has much more of an on-the-fence reputation.

But that changed on Wednesday morning when Phil seemed to suggest that legendary match official Pierluigi Collina had accepted an illegal payment to disallow a goal for Everton in a Champions League qualifier over a decade ago.

Sky Sports reporter Bryan Swanson met Collina this week for an interview and tweeted a quote from the Italian in which he announced his intention to clamp down on instances of players crowding officials in his new role as chairman of the Fifa Referees Committee.

Neville quoted Swanson’s tweet with an enquiry of his own, as he wrote: “Ask him about the goal he disallowed for Everton vs Villarreal #bung”.

A bung, in football, is an unauthorised and undisclosed payment to a figure to incentivise him/her to make a certain decision so Neville seemed to suggest that Collina had gained financially from the decision to rule out the below header from Duncan Ferguson.

Collina blew for a bizarre foul with a controversial call that still eats away at Toffees fans.

But Neville quickly regretted his tweet as it was deleted from his account almost immediately after it had been posted. But not before anticipatory supporters screenshot it because nobody gets away with anything in 2017.