Manchester United CEO Richard Arnold has discussed why the club chose to loan out Mason Greenwood and grant Antony a leave of absence following allegations of abuse.
Greenwood was first suspended by United in January 2022 when he was arrested on suspicion of rape and assault, and later sexual assault and threats to kill. He was then charged with attempted rape, assault and engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour by Greater Manchester Police, but these charges were dropped in February 2023.
United underwent their own investigation into these allegations, and extensive reporting from The Athletic over the summer revealed that the club were ready to reintegrate him into the first-team setup. However, this was met by significant resistance from staff and fans, and the decision was later made for Greenwood to continue his career away from United.
Greenwood joined La Liga side Getafe on loan for the 2023/24 season on transfer deadline day.
Speaking at a fans’ forum event this week, Arnold spoke about the complexities regarding the Greenwood ordeal and confirmed he reneged on his initial decision to bring the forward back into Erik ten Hag’s team.
“With Mason, as I am sure you can appreciate, this was an extremely difficult and complex situation. We conducted a detailed investigation over several months, considering all the evidence available,” he said.
“The evidence presented to us contained important facts that were not in the public domain. I made the ultimate decision as CEO that Mason’s career should continue elsewhere.
“It is true that my decision evolved over time, but I believe we came to the right conclusion for all parties. However, I can assure you that we have listened to the feedback and criticism and there are learnings that we can take forward.
“We have already applied some of the lessons during our handling of the Antony case – for example, by consulting Women’s Aid to ensure that the perspective of domestic abuse survivors was considered in our decision.”
After Greenwood’s temporary departure was sealed, United winger Antony was accused of assault by three women.
He was granted time away from the club in order to try and deal with these allegations and has spoken with authorities in Sao Paulo and Manchester as part of ongoing investigations.
Antony returned to United’s squad for the first time for their 3-2 loss against Galatasaray at the beginning of October. He was booed by away fans during United’s 2-1 victory at home to Brentford a few days later.
Arnold went on to explain why Antony has been allowed to return to action despite the various allegations against him.
“Regarding Antony, we took a swift decision to grant him a leave of absence to address the allegations against him. He arrived back in Manchester two weeks ago to voluntarily meet Greater Manchester Police, just as he had done with Brazilian police in Sao Paulo,” he said.
“In the absence so far of any charges against him in the UK or Brazil, we decided the right course of action was to allow Antony to resume training and playing while the police investigation proceeds. We will keep this stance under review pending further developments in the case.”
What we know
- Mason Greenwood loaned out to Getafe this summer after attempted rape and assault charges dropped
- Antony has returned to Man Utd fold following leave of absence to solve assault allegations
- CEO Richard Arnold has explained the club’s decisions.