Forest’s Evangelos Marinakis blasts ‘outrageous’ Gary Neville as he doubles down on ‘Luton fan’ claim

Lewis Oldham
Forest Neville Marinakis
Evangelos Marinakis and Gary Neville.

Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis has hit out at Gary Neville, as his comments about the Premier League club were “outrageous”.

Forest have been docked four points this season for breaching the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability rules but they are pretty much safe ahead of their final game of the 2023/24 campaign on Sunday against Burnley.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s side are three points clear of 18th-placed Luton Town and they also have a superior goal difference, with a 12-goal gap between the two teams.

Nottm Forest feels they have been hard done to by referee decisions this season. At the start of this year, they made the controversial decision of appointing ex-Premier League official Mark Clattenburg as their in-house referee analyst.

Clattenburg stood down earlier this month as his presence was “more of a hindrance than a help” for Forest. 

His exit came following Forest’s 2-0 loss to Everton at Goodison Park. Clattenburg criticised officials as he claimed the visitors should have been awarded three penalties.

Neville subsequently called for Clattenburg to resign, while Forest were slammed for questioning the impartiality of VAR official Stuart Attwell via social media.

“Our lawyers have already been in touch with Sky regarding Neville…”

Marinakis has given an ‘explosive interview’ with The Daily Mail, claiming Neville’s “comments about the club were outrageous”.

“We made this announcement because we tried to protect and then there is a big fuss – but that was made from Sky Sports and specific guys,” said Marinakis in an interview with The Daily Mail.

“I can bring you 100 examples of times they exaggerated, didn’t say the truth and humiliated people.

“Neville is subject to FA rules too, surely – he is a director of Salford FC. His comment about the club was outrageous, but the FA have done nothing.

“I need to be careful – because our lawyers have already been in contact with Sky regarding Neville and this is not over yet. The comments and words he used were inappropriate, didn’t correspond with reality and harmed people.”

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When asked about Attwell, Marinakis doubled down as the referee is “well known to be a Luton fan”.

“The truth is this specific referee is well known to be a Luton fan – and no doubt declared his interest to PGMOL, as all of them have to,” Marinakis added:

“In my opinion, the PGMOL should not have selected him for this match. Luton were directly below Forest at that time. In the final relegation place in eighteenth position.

“The match against Everton was hugely important for the club’s survival in the Premier League. The PGMOL should not have risked even the suspicion or perception of any bias, even unconscious bias.

“To be clear, we don’t expect to dictate or to impose a change to the PGMOL or Premier League but it is our duty to warn of a situation and be proactive.”

He added: “There were three undisputed penalties – not one. We have the analysis from trusted experts to prove it.”

In March, Marinakis was accused of ‘chasing’ referee Paul Tierney ‘down the tunnel’ after Forest’s loss to Liverpool. But he claims this came from the “imagination of Sky and others”.

“I didn’t storm on the pitch to confront the referee, all this was in the imagination of Sky and the others that said this,” Marinakis said.

“I was there to show unity with the team, as I have done many times in the past, after a terrible (refereeing) decision. I was just stood outside the tunnel, the referee walked past and I didn’t even look at him. That’s why the Premier League never even questioned me about this.”