Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood will leave the club by mutual agreement after a six-month internal investigation into his conduct.
Greenwood was arrested in January 2022 following allegations surrounding material which was published online.
Charges against the 21-year-old England international, including attempted rape and assault, were dropped on 2 February 2023.
United said in a statement: “All those involved, including Mason, recognise the difficulties with him recommencing his career at Manchester United.
“It has therefore been mutually agreed that it would be most appropriate for him to do so away from Old Trafford, and we will now work with Mason to achieve that outcome.
“Based on the evidence available to us, we have concluded that the material posted online did not provide a full picture and that Mason did not commit the offences in respect of which he was originally charged. That said, as Mason publicly acknowledges today, he has made mistakes which he is taking responsibility for.”
In a statement, Greenwood accepted he had “made mistakes” and took his “share of responsibility”, but added: “I did not do the things I was accused of.”
He said: “Today’s decision has been part of a collaborative process between Manchester United, my family and me. The best decision for us all is for me to continue my football career away from Old Trafford, where my presence will not be a distraction for the club. I thank the club for their support since I joined aged seven. There will always be a part of me which is United.
“I am enormously grateful to my family and all my loved ones for their support, and it is now for me to repay the trust those around me have shown. I intend to be a better footballer, but most importantly a good father, a better person, and to use my talents in a positive way on and off the pitch.”
Greenwood, whose contract Old Trafford runs until 2025, could now be sold or loaned to another club for the remainder of his contract.
What is the background?
In material published online, a man – alleged to be Greenwood – could be heard shouting at a woman to “move your [expletive] legs up”. The woman responded that she did not want sex, and the man replied: “I don’t give a [expletive] what you want, you little [expletive].”
The man then says: “Push me again and watch what happens to you.”
Greenwood was charged in October 2022 with attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Following his arrest, Nike ended its sponsorship deal with Greenwood and Electronic Arts removed him from active squads on its Fifa 22 game.
After the charges were dropped in February 2023, the Crown Prosecution Service said key witnesses had withdrawn and new material had come to light, meaning there was “no longer a realistic prospect of conviction”.
At the time, a statement released on Greenwood’s behalf said he was “relieved”.
United then started their own internal investigation in to the player, who was previously named one of the most valuable players in Europe’s top five leagues.
Greenwood has one England cap, and was sent home from the international camp during which he won it after an “unacceptable” breach of coronavirus quarantine guidelines in Iceland.
In a statement last week, the club said they had gathered “extensive evidence and context not in the public domain” and spoken to “numerous people with direct involvement or knowledge of the case”.
In an open letter to fans on Monday, United chief executive Richard Arnold said the extra evidence included the alleged victim requesting the police to drop their investigation in April 2022, and the club receiving alternative explanations for the material that was posted online.
“While I am satisfied that Mason did not commit the acts he was charged with, Mason’s accepted that he has made mistakes which he takes responsibility for,” Arnold said.
An announcement of the investigation’s results was expected before United’s opening Premier League game of the season against Wolves on 14 August, but the decision was delayed amid fierce debate about Greenwood’s potential reintegration at Old Trafford.
What has happened in recent weeks?
A group of female United supporters protested about his potential return outside Old Trafford before the Wolves game, and said they wanted the club to “demonstrate a zero-tolerance approach” towards violence against women.
Female Fans Against Greenwood’s Return put out a lengthy statement to say Greenwood’s reintegration would tell them “as women, that we don’t matter”.
The club said they wanted to consult with their women’s team, some of whom were part of England’s World Cup squad playing in Australia, before announcing a decision about Greenwood’s future.
United announced their decision while the Lionesses were flying home.
In a statement last Wednesday, United said the “fact-finding phase” of their investigation was complete, adding a decision about Greenwood’s future – which rested with Arnold – was in the final stages.
The Athletic reported United’s executive leadership team had been told in early August that Greenwood – who scored 35 goals in 129 games – would be returning to the club.
However, United said the decision had not been made and was “the subject of intensive internal deliberation”.
The following day, television presenter Rachel Riley said she would stop supporting United if Greenwood was allowed to stay.
A number of MPs criticised the club when it was reported they were considering bringing Greenwood back, with Labour MP Apsana Begum saying such a decision would be “a stain on your club that will be hard to forget”.
After Monday’s announcement, Female Fans Against Greenwood’s Return said the club had “done the right thing, for the wrong reasons”.
Post Views: 67