Manchester United has officially announced its decision to part ways with 21-year-old Mason Greenwood. The club’s choice comes on the heels of an extensive internal investigation into grave allegations of attempted rape, controlling and coercive behavior, and assault against the young player. This decision raises crucial questions about the future of both the player and the storied club he once called home.
The announcement left many fans wondering about the specifics of Greenwood’s departure. Manchester United’s official statement read, “All those involved, including Mason, recognize 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.”
Greenwood’s suspension from Manchester United’s training and matches was implemented pending the conclusion of an internal investigation. This decision followed the discontinuation of the Crown Prosecution Service’s case against him.
The CPS explained its stance in February, stating, “In this case, a combination of the withdrawal of key witnesses and new material that came to light meant there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.”
While this development could be seen as a legal exoneration, the court of public opinion continues to scrutinize Greenwood’s actions.
Having risen through the ranks of Manchester United’s academy, Greenwood had become a familiar figure on the field. His last appearance for the club dates back to January 22, 2022, marking a significant hiatus in his career.
Moreover, the player holds one senior cap for England, earned during a Nations League match against Iceland in September 2020. These accolades, now shadowed by allegations, add complexity to the narrative.
Intriguingly, Man Utd CEO Richard Arnold shed light on the club’s careful deliberations regarding Greenwood’s potential return to the first team. Rumors had circulated earlier about a possible reintegration for the forward, and Arnold’s statement shed light on the behind-the-scenes decision-making process.
He noted, “Reintegration was one of the outcomes we considered and planned for… While the ultimate decision rested with me, I was taking various factors and views into account right up until the point of finalizing my decision.”
Manchester United’s statement in full
“Manchester United has concluded its internal investigation into the allegations made against Mason Greenwood.
“Our process commenced in February 2023, following all charges against Mason being dropped. Throughout, we have 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. This has required us to proceed with sensitivity and care to obtain evidence not in the public domain, including from those with direct knowledge of the case.
“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.
“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.”
Mason Greenwood statement in full
“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, and I take my share of responsibility for the situations which led to the social media post.
“I am learning to understand my responsibilities to set a good example as a professional footballer, and I’m focused on the big responsibility of being a father, as well as a good partner.
“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.”
Richard Arnold’s open letter to Manchester United fans
Richard Arnold is the CEO of Manchester United:
Now that we have concluded and announced the outcome of the club’s investigation into Mason Greenwood, I want to be direct and transparent with our fans about the process and the reasons for our decision.
This was an internal disciplinary investigation between employer and employee which would ordinarily take place outside of the public eye. Given the public nature of the allegations and Mason’s profile, I acknowledge that this was not an ordinary situation, but I felt it important that we still follow due process and, so far as possible, avoid media comment until I had made a definitive decision.
When audio footage and imagery was posted online in January 2022, my feelings were of shock and concern for the alleged victim. Her welfare, wishes and perspective have been central to the club’s approach ever since, as have the club’s standards and values. While we immediately concluded that Mason should be suspended pending investigation, we were also conscious of our duty of care towards him and the importance of making a decision based on full information. Until February this year, this was a matter for the police and the Crown Prosecution Service. It was only when charges were dropped that the club discussed the allegations with Mason and others involved in the case.
Our investigation sought to collate as much evidence as possible to establish facts and context. This was not a quick or straightforward process for a variety of reasons. It was essential for us to respect the rights and wishes of the alleged victim. Also, we have limited powers of investigation which meant we were reliant on third party cooperation. Timings have also been influenced by my desire to minimise the impact of the investigation on our men’s and women’s teams, as well as our Lionesses. I acknowledge that this gave more time for speculation, but the alternative would have been to compromise due process or create untimely disruption.
While we were unable to access certain evidence for reasons we respect, the evidence we did collate led us to conclude that Mason did not commit the acts he was charged with. I am restricted as to what I can say for legal reasons, including the alleged victim’s ongoing right to anonymity, but I am able to share the following with you which should give you some insight into the complexity of this case.
• The alleged victim requested the police to drop their investigation in April 2022.
• We were provided with alternative explanations for the audio recording, which was a short excerpt from a much longer recording, and for the images posted online.
• The alleged victim’s family participated in the process 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 course of the past six months several outcomes have been contemplated and planned for, and my view has evolved as our process progressed. While the ultimate decision rested with me, I was taking various factors and views into account right up until the point of finalising my decision.
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. I am also mindful of the challenge that Mason would face rebuilding his career and raising a baby together with his partner in the harsh spotlight of Manchester United. Further, this case has provoked strong opinions, and it is my responsibility to minimise any distraction to the unity we are seeking within the club.
Although we have decided that Mason will seek to rebuild his career away from Manchester United, that does not signal the end of this matter. The club will continue to offer its support both to the alleged victim and Mason to help them rebuild and move forward positively with their lives.
Thank you for your continued support,