WOMEN’S charities have welcomed Manchester United’s decision to deny Mason Greenwood a comeback but say more must be done.
Abuse charities have welcomed Mason Greenwood’s Manchester United exileGetty
But they warned football clubs need to be better at dealing with similar cases and allegations about players’ behaviour.
United today announced they had come to a “collaborative decision” with the 21-year-old forward that he would be moving on.
But the club did not say whether his £75,000-a-week contract would be terminated or whether he would be put on loan or sold.
The player released a statement admitting he had “made mistakes”.
Greenwood hasn’t played for the first team since being arrested in January last year for attempted rape, assault and coercive control.
All charges against him were dropped in February but the footballer remained suspended by United.
Women’s Aid spokeswoman Teresa Parker said: “We know that today’s news from Manchester United that Greenwood will be moving on from club will be a relief for many survivors of sexual abuse.
“Football is loved by so many people worldwide and players are often idolised by fans, so the way that these alleged abuse cases are treated in clubs has a huge impact on public understanding about what is accepted and tolerated in society.
“This is an issue that reaches far wider than football, with misogynistic content widely available on social media, so it is important to recognise how widespread harmful attitudes are and address this.”
‘FOOTBALL WORLD SHOULD WAKE UP’
She told how the charity “reached out” to United after last Wednesday’s statement and “since had conversations with the club”.
She added: “Our approach at Women’s Aid remains the same.
“We want to work collaboratively with football clubs and organisations to increase understanding and awareness of abuse, as part of our ongoing football campaign.”
A separate group called Female Fans Against Greenwood’s Return posted on X, formerly called Twitter, their support for the decision – but also criticism of the club for leaving it so long.
They said: “We are relieved that those with lived experiences of abuse, both fans and employees of MUFC, will finally be able to support their team and attend work without being forced to relive their trauma.
“Survivors, we see you, we are with you.
“We hope MUFC and the whole football world will wake up to their responsibilities after this shameful incident.
“Female fans aren’t passive customers. We are real people with real experiences, and we will make hell in defence of the clubs we love, and in defence of each other.”
And a joint statement by campaign groups The Three Hijabis and the End Violence Against Women Coalition called on the Football Association and the Premier League to act.
They demanded “mandatory sexual consent training to be provided for all players, managers, coaches and club owners”.
They said: “Individuals should be held to account for violence against women and girls and this is the right outcome for Manchester United.”
But they added: “We are clear that this issue is not solely about individual players but the industry that supports them, the clubs they play for, the leagues they compete in and the academies that train them.
“Football players and the teams they play for have a unique position in shaping the attitudes of boys and men.
“The need for football institutions to step up and take urgent, transparent responsibility for tackling gender-based violence has never been clearer.”
GREENWOOD ADMITS MAKING ‘MISTAKES’
Greenwood’s last game was on January 22, 2022, in a Premier League clash against West Ham United, which United won 1-0.
He was charged in October last year and was due to stand trial in November this year.
But prosecutors withdrew the case on February 2 after his alleged victim and a dozen more witnesses refused to co-operate.
United said today they had taken into account the “wishes, rights and perspective of the alleged victim along with the club’s standards and values, and sought to collate as much information and context as possible”.
The club added: “Based on the evidence available to us, we have concluded that the material alleged 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.
“All those involved, including Mason, recognise the difficulties with him recommencing his career at Manchester United.”
Greenwood also released a statement where he insisted he had not done what he was accused of but was “learning to understand my responsibilities as a professional footballer”.
He added: “I want to start by saying I understand that people will judge me because of what they have seen and heard on social media, and I know people will think the worst.
“I was brought up to know that violence or abuse is wrong.
“I did not do the things I was accused of, and in February I was cleared of all charges.
“However, I fully accept I made mistakes.”
He added: “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.”
Bradford-born Greenwood has scored 35 goals in 129 appearances for United, having joined the club as a six-year-old.
GettyProtests about the club’s approach were held outside Old Trafford last Monday[/caption]
Celeb fan Rachel Riley said she’d stop supporting United if Greenwood returned
APGreenwood has not played for United since being suspended in January last year[/caption]
AFPThe Crown Prosecution Service dropped all charges against the footballer in February[/caption]