An individual was spotted watching the session in the bushes to spark fears the Lionesses were being spied on
An onlooker appeared to be spying on England’s training session ahead of their Women’s World Cup semi-final against the USA on Tuesday.
Security staff had to remove the individual from the Lionesses’ training base in Lyon after he was spotted in the bushes above the pitch.
The incident comes just a day after two members of the United States’ staff were seen in private areas of England’s hotel while the Lionesses were outside training.
Phil Neville laughed off the suggestion it would give rivals USA the upper hand and coach Jill Ellis denied any wrongdoing, claiming they were just scouting a potential base for the final on Sunday, which will also be held in Lyon.
Fresh doubts will surround those claims following Monday’s events.
In footage captured by ITV News, a man wearing white trousers and a blue coat can be seen peering through the greenery above the Terrain d’Honneur Lyon base.
Security then rush over to the area in which the person is stood, but seem unable to reach him due to a fence.
Lionesses boss Neville questioned the etiquette of their semi-final opponents after it was revealed that two plain-clothed US delegates were given a tour of England’s hotel on Sunday.
He said: “The only thing I would say is that it’s not something I would want my team ops person to do.
“I’m happy with my team hotel and I hope they are enjoying their hotel. It’s not something we would have done, sending someone around to (the opponents) hotel and I’m sure they will be dealing with it.
“It doesn’t give them an unfair advantage. It has no bearing on the game. I thought it was quite funny. I was thinking, ‘What are they are doing?’ But it’s not etiquette, is it? It’s not something my team would be doing.”
USA goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher rejected any accusations of poor form, insisting they scout every hotel they plan to stay in.
“That has nothing to do with the game,” she said.
“Our managers and operations have scouted out every hotel we’ve ever stayed in or every potential hotel we stay in, to make sure we’ve got plan A, plan B, plan C.
“It’s just our operations checking all the boxes and preparing for whatever path we take.”
Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa admitted to spying on Derby’s training session ahead of a Championship match between the two clubs last season, in a saga which quickly became known as ‘Spygate’.
The Whites were fined £200,000 and given a severe reprimand by the English Football League.