Women’s rights organisations have welcomed Manchester United’s mutual decision to part ways with Mason Greenwood, calling it a “relief” for many survivors of domestic and sexual abuse while criticising the club for evading accountability.

On Monday the club announced “it would be most appropriate” for Greenwood to resume his career away from Old Trafford. The decision came after a six-month internal investigation, and after prosecutors dropped an attempted rape case against the forward, who has denied all the charges.

While the Women’s Equality party (WEP) welcomed the decision, the organisation described it as “less than the bare minimum”, saying the decision was made following “enormous” social media and press pressure.

“Manchester United’s statement today showed no remorse, despite admitting to ‘mistakes’, it doesn’t take responsibility, and it doesn’t once mention how the club is tackling violence against women and girls,” said Chris Paouros, a spokesperson for WEP.

“It will do nothing to reassure women that claims made against men in positions of power in their club will be taken seriously.”

The club began an internal investigation, overseen by its chief executive, Richard Arnold, into the 21-year-old player after charges against Greenwood of attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm following his arrest in January 2022 were dropped in February 2023.

“I was brought up to know that violence or abuse in any relationship is wrong, I did not do the things I was accused of, and in February I was cleared of all charges,” Greenwood said on Monday.

United staff were split over whether Greenwood – who has a contract until 2025 – should be allowed to resume his career at the club, the Guardian was told in February. The sentiment persisted as recently as last week, as some United employees expressed frustration at the lengthy internal review.

The charity Women’s Aid has been in conversation with the club and said teams must make a clear stand against sexism and misogyny with players from a young age.

“Football is loved by so many people worldwide, and players are often idolised by fans, so the way that alleged domestic abuse cases are treated in clubs has a huge impact on public understanding about what is accepted and tolerated in society,” a Women’s Aid spokeswoman said.

A joint statement from The Three Hijabis and the End Violence Against Women Coalition called the decision the “right outcome” for United, adding that the issue is not pinned to individual players, but also the industries, clubs, leagues and academies surrounding them.

“Solely focusing on the actions of individual players allows football clubs and institutions to evade accountability for the role they play in maintaining a culture of silence and impunity – a culture that enables these abuses of power and status in the first place,” the statement said.

On Monday the two organisations echoed calls previously made in an open letter from February 2022 to the chief executives of both the Football Association and the Premier League, calling for action to combat violence against women, including mandatory training and clear sexual misconduct policies.

In a statement on Monday, Manchester United said the wishes, rights and perspective of the alleged victim along with the club’s standards were taken into account.

The club said in a statement: “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.”

United had also had plans to involve their England Women’s World Cup players – Mary Earps, Ella Toone and Katie Zelem – in the consultation process over whether Greenwood should be allowed to resume his career at the club. Greenwood has not played for United since 22 January 2022.