Rob Dawson, correspondentSeptember 4, 2023, 11:04 p.m.
Antony was left out of the Brazil squad on Monday following fresh allegations of domestic violence against the Manchester United footballer.
The 23-year-old had been named in the squad for CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying matches against Bolivia and Peru, but was released from international duty after the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) cited allegations “which must be investigated”.
Domestic violence allegations were made for the first time against Antony in June by his ex-girlfriend and other accusations from him were made public Monday. United said it was aware of the decision taken by the CBF but declined to comment, while Antony denies any wrongdoing.
The press release published by the CBF specifies: “Due to the facts which became public this Monday involving Manchester United player Antony and which require an investigation, and in order to protect the alleged victim, the player, the Brazilian team and the CBF, the “The organization informs that the athlete has been removed from the Brazilian team.”
The allegations are being investigated in Brazil and a complaint has also been made to Manchester police.
Greater Manchester Police released a statement on Monday saying: “Greater Manchester Police is aware of the allegations made and inquiries are underway to establish the circumstances surrounding this report.”
In response to the allegations, Antony posted a statement on social media in which he insisted that “the accusations are false.”
It read: “Out of respect for my fans, friends and family, I feel compelled to speak publicly about the false accusations against me. From the beginning, I have treated this matter seriously and respectfully, by providing the necessary clarifications to the police authority.
“The police investigation is taking place under the guise of justice and therefore I cannot make its contents public. However, I can say with certainty that the accusations are false and that the evidence already produced and more to be produced shows that I am innocent of the charges made.”
Daniel Bialski, the lawyer for Antony’s ex-girlfriend, said Monday via Brazilian media outlet Globo: “The only thing she wants is that, despite everything she has endured, he [Antony] to be punished. I have a lot of confidence in the investigation by the civil police and I expect him to be prosecuted for the crimes he committed.”
Antony played for Brazil at the World Cup in Qatar and scored two goals in 16 matches for the national team. He played 84 minutes in Man United’s 3-1 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday.
Arsenal forward Gabriel Jesus was called up to the national team for the two scheduled matches as a replacement.
ESPN writer Adriana Garcia contributed to this story.