Premier League club Manchester United is facing mounting criticism from women’s support groups, fans, and media for their handling of the Mason Greenwood case. Greenwood, an England international forward, has been suspended since January 2022 over allegations relating to a young woman after images and a recording were posted online. Charges against Greenwood for attempted rape, assault, and coercive control were dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in February due to a lack of cooperation from key witnesses.
Manchester United conducted an internal investigation into the matter and initially planned to bring Greenwood back. However, after facing backlash from fans, charities, and MPs, the club announced that Greenwood would not be reinstated. The handling of the case has been criticized by former United captain and Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville, who described it as “pretty horrible” and highlighted the lack of authoritative leadership within the club.
Women’s support groups and fans have also expressed their disappointment with the club’s handling of the case. Campaign group Carly Vandella described it as an “absolute shambles” and criticized the club for prioritizing their own image over the seriousness of the situation. Football journalist Casey Evans stated that the club’s initial plans to reintegrate Greenwood belittled the gravity of the case.
While the decision not to reinstate Greenwood was ultimately made by the club, critics argue that the process was unnecessarily long and failed to address the concerns of supporters. The club’s reported assessment of external figures’ sentiment, including football pundits, journalists, and politicians, has also drawn criticism for categorizing domestic abuse charities as “hostile.”
Gary Neville suggested that an independent investigation should have been carried out, emphasizing the importance of addressing issues of domestic abuse and violence against women with impartiality. The case has sparked a broader discussion about gender-based violence in football.
In the year ending March 2022, an estimated 1.1 million adults in England and Wales were victims of sexual assault, according to Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) data.
Manchester United has not responded to requests for comment regarding the criticism from Gary Neville and others.