The Independent | Fifa has been unable to verify Phil Neville’s claim that ‘fighting’ broke out at England’s ill-tempered Women’s World Cup tie, but confirmed there were “verbal exchanges” between Cameroon fans and stewards.
World football’s governing body said that a group of Cameroon fans switching seats at the Stade du Hainaut led to stewards moving other ticket holders to the stadium’s hospitality area.
However, in a statement released on Sunday night, a Fifa spokesperson added they had received no details regarding any physical confrontations in Valenciennes.
“The post-match debrief highlighted that a number of Cameroon fans had moved to the seats behind the team benches during the match in order to create a ‘fan block’,” the statement read.
“This required management by stadium stewards who, in the interests of all spectators, moved other ticket holders into hospitality seating. Although there was some verbal exchange between Cameroon supporters and stewards, there has been no report of any physical confrontation.”
England progressed to the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup with a 3-0 victory on Sunday, but only after Cameroon’s anger at two VAR referrals had threatened to boil over.
A decision to allow Ellen White’s goal on the stroke of half time led to protests from the Cameroon players, who delayed the restart of play in order to argue their case.
There was further fury at the start of the second half when Ajara Nchout saw a goal correctly ruled out for a marginal offside.
Neville heavily criticised Cameroon’s conduct in his post-match interviews, describing himself as “completely and utterly ashamed of the opposition”.
The England head coach then claimed to have witnessed ‘fighting’ in the Stade du Hainaut’s VIP area, as well as at the hotel which the two teams shared in Valenciennes.
“We’ve seen Cameroon people fighting in the VIP area. We’ve seen Cameroon people fighting in our hotel,” he said. “I’d say to the Cameroon people: ‘Get your ship in order’.”