Mason Greenwood will continue his career away from Manchester United. Several sources have said so Sky Sports News that this has more to do with a public backlash regarding the player’s reinstatement than with the findings of the club’s internal investigation.
This week, after a six-month process overseen by an executive committee, Manchester United finally shared their outcome.
The club agreed with Greenwood that it would be more appropriate for him to restart his career away from Old Trafford.
This is the result of what United consider to be a careful examination of the facts and context around the distressing content uploaded to social media platforms in January 2022.
The chilling footage and audio recordings led the Crown Attorney’s office to charge Greenwood with attempted rape, assault, and controlling and coercive behavior.
This happened the same day he allegedly breached his bail conditions, October 15, 2022.
In February, all charges against Greenwood were dropped after key witnesses withdrew their involvement and new evidence came to light.
That’s when United’s investigation began, overseen by CEO Richard Arnold, COO Collette Roche, director of football John Murtough, legal adviser Patrick Stewart and director of communications Ellie Norman. .
United’s end result was, Sky Sports News was told neither the original plan nor the one the club’s football operations wanted for a striker who was worth more than £100million at the time of his arrest last year.
The club insists the academy graduate’s return to Carrington was one of various scenarios modeled and was at no time its final conclusion, but senior sources dispute that.
Several club staff have claimed that the original intention was to welcome the striker back to the club, hence the need to explain this thinking to key stakeholders – including the women’s team – before it is not made public.
These claims are backed up by the delay with which United communicated their findings which were due to be delivered before the start of the new Premier League season. This schedule did not take into account the participation of Manchester United players Mary Earps, Ella Toone and Katie Zelem in the Women’s World Cup and had to be amended.
United were determined that internal and external pressures would not cause them to make a decision based ‘on the facts’. However, the strength of sentiment among staff, fans and the general public towards Greenwood’s return was significantly underestimated.
In a statement released last Wednesday, United appeared to be paving the way for reinstatement. This position seemed untenable on Friday.
There is an acceptance of this in the latest statement released by the club. In an open letter, Arnold wrote: “I am aware of the challenge Mason would face rebuilding his career and raising a baby with his partner in the Manchester United spotlight.
“Furthermore, this matter has given rise to strong opinions, and it is my responsibility to minimize any distraction to the unity we seek at the club.”
The wording of United and Greenwood’s statements on Monday is curious. The club said it had “not been able to access certain evidence”, but “concluded that the documents posted online did not provide the full picture and that Mason had not committed the offenses for which he was initially charged. charged”.
They emphasize “the importance of making a decision based on complete information”, but acknowledge, as above, that they did not have a full body of evidence.
The statement goes on to say that the 21-year-old admits “he made mistakes for which he takes responsibility”.
Greenwood, however, said, “I didn’t do the things I was accused of”, but “I take my share of responsibility for the situations that led to the social media post”.
He also said: “In February I was cleared of all charges.” The CPS said the charges were dropped.
Manchester United’s communication on the decision is as confusing as the path to get there.
Last Wednesday, in reaction to United’s statement amid reports that domestic abuse charities were “hostile” to Greenwood’s return to the first team, Women’s Aid contacted the club.
Their aim was simple but vital: to increase understanding and awareness of an issue that affected 1.7million women in the UK last year, a staggering figure made all the more shocking by the fact that less than 24% of these crimes are reported to the police. .
Sources said Sky Sports News that it was the first time in a six-month process, which United said was “carefully thought out” and “thorough”, that a conversation with an organization specializing in supporting women experiencing domestic violence and sexual abuse had taken place and that it had only taken place because the women Aid took the initiative.
United’s investigation into the situation surrounding Greenwood’s arrest in January 2022 contained flaws, but the most significant was failing to work with charities who could have better informed and guided their process.
The blind spot in the club’s knowledge of domestic and sexual violence is evident in their statements and in the overall handling of the case.
United have always maintained that it was not necessary to check whether Greenwood had committed a criminal offense, but whether his actions were in line with the values that the institution wishes to uphold.
None of his previous recorded offenses at the club – some in the public domain, others kept private – have been taken into account in the investigation.
United say the focus was on the background and circumstances surrounding Greenwood’s arrest. Although it is “unable to access certain evidence for reasons which we respect”, United concluded that “Mason did not commit the acts with which he is charged”.
It will take some hard truths to know whether the handling of the situation meets the standards the club wanted to uphold given the reputational damage suffered over the past few days.
United staff across all divisions have been candid in saying that if Greenwood had been an average player he would have been ruled out as soon as he was suspended. The club informs him of his duty of care.
It is claimed that United were initially prepared to lose sponsors, a slew of other commercial revenue and endure retaliation to achieve results on the pitch.
That was until they witnessed the true extent of opposition to this decision.