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Greenwood leaves Man Utd after abuse allegations

Mason Greenwood wears a blue and white Manchester United jersey
Mason Greenwood has not played for Manchester United since January 2022

Warning: This article provides details of suspected abuse

Manchester United striker Mason Greenwood is set to leave the club by mutual consent following a six-month internal investigation into his conduct.

Greenwood was arrested in January 2022 on allegations related to material posted online.

Charges have been brought against the 21-year-old England international, including attempted rape and assault discontinued on February 2, 2023.

United said in a statement: “Everyone involved, including Mason, is aware of the difficulties that resuming his career at Manchester United poses for him.”

“It was therefore mutually agreed that it would be best for him to do this away from Old Trafford and we will now work with Mason to achieve that outcome.”

“Based on the evidence we have, we have concluded that the material posted online did not provide the full picture and that Mason did not commit the crimes with which he was originally charged. That said, as Mason publicly admits today, he made mistakes for which he takes responsibility.”

In a statement, Greenwood admitted he “made mistakes” and took his “part of the responsibility,” but added, “I didn't do the things I was accused of doing.”

He said: “Today's decision was part of a joint process between Manchester United, my family and myself. The best decision for all of us is that I continue my football career away from Old Trafford, where my presence will not be a distraction.” I thank the club for their support since joining at the age of seven. There will always be a part of me that is united.

“I am enormously grateful to my family and all my loved ones for their support and now it is my turn to repay the trust that those around me have placed in me. I want to be a better footballer, but above all a good father, to be a better person and to use my talents positively on and off the pitch.”

Greenwood, whose contract at Old Trafford runs until 2025, could now be sold or loaned to another club for the remainder of his contract.

He will continue to be paid his full salary but will not return to training at United.

What is the background?

In materials posted online, a man — allegedly Greenwood — could be heard yelling at a woman, “Move.” [expletive] Legs up”. The woman replied that she didn't want sex, and the man replied, “I don't care [expletive] Whatever you want, little one [expletive].”

The man then says, “Squeeze me again and see what happens to you.”

Greenwood was charged with actual assault in October 2022 on attempted rape, control and coercion, and assault.

After his arrest, Nike ended his sponsorship deal with Greenwood and Electronic Arts removed him from the active roster for the FIFA 22 game.

After the charges were dropped in February 2023, prosecutors said key witnesses had withdrawn and new material had come to light, meaning “there was no longer a realistic prospect of a conviction.”

At the time, a statement released on behalf of Greenwood said he was “relieved.”

United then launched their own internal investigation into the aforementioned player one of the most valuable players in the top five leagues in Europe.

Greenwood has one cap for England and was sent home from the cap camp where he won that cap after an “unacceptable” breach of coronavirus quarantine guidelines in Iceland.

in one statement last week, The club said it had “collected extensive evidence and context that is not publicly available” and spoke to “numerous people directly involved in or with knowledge of the case”.

In an open letter to fans on Monday, United chief executive Richard Arnold said the additional evidence included the alleged victim asking police to drop their investigation in April 2022 and that the club offered alternative explanations for the material posted online have received.

“While I believe Mason did not commit the crimes alleged against him, Mason has accepted that he made mistakes for which he takes responsibility,” Arnold said.

Greenwood said, “I understand that people will judge me based on what they've seen and heard … and I know people will think the worst. I was taught that violence or abuse is wrong in any relationship.”

Announcement of the findings of the investigation was expected ahead of United's first Premier League game of the season against Wolves on August 14, but the decision was postponed amid heated debates over Greenwood's possible rejoining at Old Trafford.

What has happened in the last few weeks?

A group of female United fans protested his potential Old Trafford return ahead of the Wolves game, saying they wanted the club to demonstrate “a zero-tolerance approach” to violence against women.

Female fans against Greenwood's return issued a lengthy statement saying Greenwood's return would show them “as women, we don't matter.”

The club said they wanted to consult with their women's team, some of whom were part of the England World Cup squad playing in Australia, before announcing a decision on Greenwood's future.

United announced their decision while the Lionesses were flying home.

In a statement last Wednesday, United said the “investigative phase” of their investigation was complete, adding that a decision on Greenwood's future – which rested with Arnold – was in the final stages.

The Athletic reportedexternal link United's senior management were told in early August that Greenwood – who has scored 35 goals in 129 games – was returning to the club.

However, United said the decision had not yet been made and was “the subject of intensive internal deliberations”.

TV presenter the following day Rachel Riley said she would stop supporting United if Greenwood were allowed to stay.

A number of MPs criticized the club when it was reported they were considering bringing Greenwood back, with Labor MP Apsana Begum saying such a decision was the case “An eyesore on your club that will be hard to forget.”external link

Following Monday's announcement, Female Fans Against Greenwood's Return said the club “did the right thing for the wrong reasons”.

Women's Aid, a charity working to end domestic violence against women and children, said it welcomes United's decision.

“We know that today's news from Manchester United that Greenwood is moving on will come as a relief to many survivors of domestic and sexual abuse,” the statement said.

“Football is loved by so many people around the world and players are often idolized by the fans. Therefore, the way allegations of domestic violence are dealt with in clubs has had a huge impact on public understanding of what is accepted and tolerated in society.”

The Manchester United Supporters Trust said: “Since the deeply disturbing initial allegations emerged, this incident has been allowed to drag on for far too long as the club pursued an investigation.”

“Also, the complete lack of consultation with fans, even regarding the process, fueled the fire even further. Even if the speculation and debate over the last couple of weeks has been deeply unhelpful and has only had a bad effect on the club, it is clear that they made the right decision in the end.

“We are relieved that this matter can now be behind us and will work with the club to ensure lessons are learned from this very disturbing episode.”

The group Female Fans Against Greenwood's Return holds up a banner in front of Old Trafford
The group Female Fans Against Greenwood's Return held up banners outside Old Trafford last week

The full Man Utd open letter

Board Chairman Richard Arnold wrote to supporters:

“Now that we have completed the club's investigation into Mason Greenwood and announced the outcome, I would like to speak directly and transparently with our fans about the process and the reasons for our decision.”

“This was an internal disciplinary inquiry between employer and employee that would normally take place in secret. Given the public nature of the allegations and Mason's profile, I admit that this was no ordinary situation, but I felt it was important that we continue to follow due process and avoid media comment as much as possible until I had a definitive one have made decision.

“When audio recordings and images were posted online in January 2022, I was shocked and concerned for the alleged victim. Their welfare, desires and perspective have been central to the club's approach ever since, as have the club's standards and values. During.” We immediately concluded that Mason should be suspended pending investigation. We were also aware of our duty of care to him and the importance of making an informed decision. Until February this year, this was a matter for the police and the prosecution service. It was only after the charges were dropped that the club discussed the allegations with Mason and others involved in the case.

“The aim of our investigation was to collect as much evidence as possible in order to establish facts and connections. This was not a quick or straightforward process for various reasons. It was essential for us to respect the rights and wishes of the alleged victim. We too have limited investigative powers, which meant we had to rely on third-party cooperation. The schedule was also influenced by my desire to minimize the impact of the investigation on our men's and women's teams and our lionesses. I recognize that this would have allowed more time for speculation, but the alternative would have been to jeopardize due process or cause premature disruption.

“Although we have not been able to access certain evidence for reasons we respect, the evidence we have compiled led to the conclusion that Mason did not commit the acts charged with. I can only say limited for legal reasons, including the alleged victim's right to anonymity, but I can tell you the following to give you an insight into the complexity of this case.

  • The alleged victim applied to the police in April 2022 to drop their investigation.
  • We were given alternative explanations for the audio recording, which was a short snippet of a much longer recording, and for the images posted online.
  • The family of the alleged victim participated in the proceedings and were given the opportunity to review and correct our factual findings.

“Last week the media reported that we had decided to reintegrate Mason and that elements of a plan to do so had been leaked to them. Reintegration was one of the outcomes we considered and planned for. For context, over the past six months, several outcomes have been considered and planned, and my perspective has evolved as our process has progressed. While the final decision was mine, I considered various factors and views up to the point where I finally made my decision.

“While I am satisfied that Mason did not commit the crimes alleged against him, Mason has accepted that he made mistakes for which he accepts responsibility. I also recognize the challenge that Mason would face in rebuilding his career and raising a child.” His partner has been in the harsh spotlight at Manchester United. Furthermore, this case has generated strong opinions and it is my responsibility to minimize any distraction from the unity we seek within the club.

“While we have decided that Mason will seek to rebuild his career outside of Manchester United, it does not mean the end of this matter. The association will continue to offer its support to both the alleged victim and Mason to help them rebuild and move forward positively with their lives.”

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