Warning: The following report contains information concerning alleged misconduct.
Mason Greenwood, the Manchester United forward, will depart the club through mutual agreement following a six-month internal inquiry into his behavior. Greenwood was apprehended in January 2022 amid accusations regarding content disseminated online. On 2 February 2023, charges against the 21-year-old English international, encompassing allegations of attempted rape and assault, were dismissed.
A United statement affirmed, “All parties involved, including Mason, acknowledge the challenges of resuming his career at Manchester United. Therefore, it has been mutually determined that his reintegration would be most suitable away from Old Trafford. We will collaborate with Mason to facilitate this outcome.”
Based on available evidence, it has been concluded that the online content did not present a comprehensive view, and Greenwood did not commit the offenses for which he was initially charged. Greenwood, however, acknowledges errors for which he assumes responsibility.
Greenwood conveyed, “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.” He expressed gratitude to the club, his family, and supporters, pledging to channel his abilities positively on and off the pitch.
Currently under contract at Old Trafford until 2025, Greenwood’s options include a potential sale or loan to another club for the remainder of his contract. Despite this, he will not return to training with United.
The background entails the online publication of contentious material, featuring a man, allegedly Greenwood, engaging in a confrontational exchange with a woman. Although charges against Greenwood were dropped in February 2023 due to withdrawn witnesses and new evidence, a subsequent internal investigation by United assessed the case’s broader context.
While the decision was postponed due to ongoing debate over Greenwood’s reintegration, United eventually concluded that Greenwood’s departure was the most appropriate course of action. This resolution has been met with mixed reactions, with supporters and advocacy groups emphasizing the broader accountability of football clubs in addressing gender-based violence.
In August 2022, the Premier League introduced mandatory sexual consent training for players and staff as part of a broader effort to address issues of gender-based violence in football. The decision to part ways with Greenwood has sparked discussions about the role of football clubs in maintaining an environment free from such issues.
Manchester United’s comprehensive communication to fans was issued by Richard Arnold, the chief executive, providing a full overview of the club’s investigation into Mason Greenwood’s situation:
“As we now conclude and disclose the results of our investigation into Mason Greenwood, I want to be forthright and transparent with our supporters about the process and rationale behind our decision.
“This internal disciplinary inquiry, typically conducted privately between employer and employee, assumed an unusual public dimension due to the nature of the allegations and Mason’s public standing. While acknowledging this extraordinary context, I remained committed to adhering to proper procedures and avoiding media commentary until a final resolution had been reached.
“Upon the online release of audio and visual material in January 2022, my initial reactions were of astonishment and concern for the alleged victim. Her well-being, desires, and perspective have since been central to our approach, as have our club’s values and principles. Though we promptly decided to suspend Mason during the investigation, we also recognized our responsibility to uphold his welfare and the importance of rendering a verdict based on comprehensive information. Until this February, the situation remained within the jurisdiction of the police and the Crown Prosecution Service. It was only upon the dismissal of charges that the club commenced discussions about the allegations with Mason and other parties implicated.
“Our inquiry aimed to amass an extensive array of evidence to ascertain facts and context. This proved intricate and time-consuming for various reasons. Respecting the alleged victim’s rights and wishes was paramount, and the investigation relied on the cooperation of external parties due to our restricted investigative authority. My intention to minimize any disruption to our men’s, women’s, and Lionesses’ teams also dictated the timeline, thereby inadvertently allowing room for speculation. I acknowledge the speculation but believe it was preferable to compromising the due process or causing undue upheaval.
“While some evidence was beyond our reach due to legitimate reasons, the evidence we did assemble led us to conclude that Mason was not culpable of the charges levied against him. Legal constraints limit the information I can share, including the ongoing anonymity of the alleged victim. However, I can provide you with the following insights into the intricacy of the case.
The alleged victim requested the police to terminate their investigation in April 2022.
Alternate explanations were provided for the audio snippet and online images, both of which were derived from more extensive recordings.
The alleged victim’s family participated in the process and were given the opportunity to review and rectify our factual conclusions.
“Media reports last week suggested that we had resolved to reintegrate Mason and that certain aspects of our reintegration plan were disclosed. Reintegration was one of the contemplated and planned outcomes throughout this six-month period. I want to clarify that various outcomes were weighed and devised over time, and my viewpoint evolved as our examination progressed. While the ultimate decision was mine to make, I considered a range of factors and opinions until the moment I finalized my conclusion.
“Although I am content that Mason did not commit the offenses he was charged with, Mason himself has accepted responsibility for his errors. Additionally, I am mindful of the challenges Mason would face rebuilding his career and navigating his role as a partner and parent in the intense glare of Manchester United’s spotlight. Furthermore, this case has elicited strong opinions, and it falls upon me to limit any distractions from the unity we strive to foster within the club.
“While it has been determined that Mason will pursue a career outside of Manchester United to rebuild, this is by no means the end of the matter. The club remains committed to supporting both the alleged victim and Mason as they embark on the journey of rebuilding their lives in a positive direction.”
Manchester United’s Open Letter: Understanding the Decision Regarding Mason Greenwood
Transparency Amidst Complexity
In an earnest and transparent letter to our valued supporters, I, Richard Arnold, Chief Executive of Manchester United, wish to share the comprehensive process and underlying rationale that underpins our recent decision concerning Mason Greenwood’s situation.
The Unusual Public Dimension: Handling Allegations and Profile
This internal disciplinary investigation, which typically remains confidential between an employer and employee, took on a distinct public aspect due to the nature of the allegations and Mason’s high public visibility. I acknowledge the extraordinary circumstances but emphasize our commitment to procedural integrity and a deliberate absence of media commentary until a definitive verdict was reached.
Initial Reactions and Considerations
Upon the release of audio and visual content online in January 2022, my initial reactions were those of astonishment and concern for the alleged victim. Our foremost concern was her well-being, desires, and perspective, which have since been central to our approach. Equally significant are the fundamental values and principles that guide our club. Though we promptly suspended Mason during the investigation, we recognized the parallel responsibility to uphold his well-being and ensure our decision was informed by comprehensive information.
From Legal Jurisdiction to Internal Deliberation
The jurisdiction of the situation remained with the police and the Crown Prosecution Service until February, after charges were dropped. It was then that we initiated discussions with Mason and other relevant parties. Our aim was to amass an extensive body of evidence to ascertain both facts and context. This task, for a variety of reasons, proved intricate and time-consuming.
Prioritizing Alleged Victim’s Rights and Team Dynamics
Respecting the rights and wishes of the alleged victim held paramount importance in our investigative process. Additionally, our restricted authority necessitated cooperation from external parties, further influencing the timeline of the investigation. While this allowed for some degree of speculation, it was a deliberate choice to preserve due process and prevent undue disruption to our men’s, women’s, and Lionesses’ teams.
Insights into the Investigation: Facts and Context
While certain evidence was inaccessible for legitimate reasons, the evidence we did compile led us to conclude that Mason was not responsible for the charges initially brought against him. Legal constraints prevent me from sharing exhaustive details, including the ongoing anonymity of the alleged victim. However, I can offer the following insights that illuminate the complexity of the case:
- The alleged victim herself requested the police to halt their investigation in April 2022.
- Alternate explanations were provided for both the audio snippet and online images, which derived from broader recordings.
- The alleged victim’s family actively participated in the process, contributing to the review and rectification of our factual conclusions.
Evolution of Decision and Reintegration Considerations
Recent media reports suggested our decision to reintegrate Mason and even hinted at certain facets of our reintegration strategy. Reintegration, one of several potential outcomes, was continuously contemplated and planned throughout the six-month period. It is important to clarify that a range of outcomes was weighed and formulated over time, and my perspective evolved as the investigation unfolded. While the ultimate decision was mine to make, it was arrived at after considering numerous factors and viewpoints, right up to the final decision-making juncture.
A Balanced Verdict and Forward Steps
I am content that Mason did not commit the offenses he was originally charged with. Mason himself has acknowledged and accepted responsibility for his actions. Additionally, I am mindful of the hurdles Mason would face in rebuilding his career and navigating his role as a partner and parent under the intense scrutiny of Manchester United’s spotlight. Furthermore, this case has generated diverse opinions, prompting me to prioritize minimizing any distractions that could impede the unity we endeavor to foster within the club.
Continuing Support and a Forward Path
While we have decided that Mason will pursue his career away from Manchester United in order to rebuild, this should not be construed as the culmination of this matter. Our club remains steadfast in its commitment to provide support to both the alleged victim and Mason as they embark on their journeys of positive rebuilding in their respective lives.