Mason Greenwood is leaving Manchester United after the club’s six-month internal inquiry. The club said it had been mutually agreed that “it would be most appropriate” for him to resume his career away from Old Trafford and “we will now work with Mason to achieve that outcome”.

United began that process after charges against Greenwood of attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour and assault occasioning actual bodily harm were dropped. The forward, who has a contract to 2025, had denied all the charges.

United said in a statement: “We have taken into account the wishes, rights and perspective of the alleged victim along with the club’s standards and values, and sought to collate as much information and context as possible. This has required us to proceed with sensitivity and care to obtain evidence not in the public domain, including from those with direct knowledge of the case.

“Based on the evidence available to us, we have concluded that the material posted online did not provide a full picture and that Mason did not commit the offences in respect of which he was originally charged. That said, as Mason publicly acknowledges today, he has made mistakes which he is taking responsibility for.

“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.”

The 21-year-old has not played for United since 22 January 2022, in a 1-0 win over West Ham at Old Trafford. He was arrested that month and in October of that year the charges were brought. When the charges were dropped the Crown Prosecution Service said there was “no longer a realistic prospect of conviction” after key witnesses withdrew their cooperation from the investigation.

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Manchester United CEO’s open letter to fans


Now that we have concluded and announced the outcome of the club’s investigation into Mason Greenwood, I want to be direct and transparent with our fans about the process and the reasons for our decision. This was an internal disciplinary investigation between employer and employee which would ordinarily take place outside of the public eye.

Given the public nature of the allegations and Mason’s profile, I acknowledge that this was not an ordinary situation, but I felt it important that we still follow due process and, so far as possible, avoid media comment until I had made a definitive decision.

When audio footage and imagery was posted online in January 2022, my feelings were of shock and concern for the alleged victim. Her welfare, wishes and perspective have been central to the club’s approach ever since, as have the club’s standards and values. While we immediately concluded that Mason should be suspended pending investigation, we were also conscious of our duty of care towards him and the importance of making a decision based on full information.

Until February this year, this was a matter for the police and the Crown Prosecution Service. It was only when charges were dropped that the club discussed the allegations with Mason and others involved in the case. Our investigation sought to collate as much evidence as possible to establish facts and context.

This was not a quick or straightforward process for a variety of reasons. It was essential for us to respect the rights and wishes of the alleged victim. Also, we have limited powers of investigation which meant we were reliant on third party cooperation. Timings have also been influenced by my desire to minimise the impact of the investigation on our men’s and women’s teams, as well as our Lionesses.

I acknowledge that this gave more time for speculation, but the alternative would have been to compromise due process or create untimely disruption. While we were unable to access certain evidence for reasons we respect, the evidence we did collate led us to conclude that Mason did not commit the acts he was charged with.

I am restricted as to what I can say for legal reasons, including the alleged victim’s ongoing right to anonymity, but I am able to share the following with you which should give you some insight into the complexity of this case.

• The alleged victim requested the police to drop their investigation in April 2022.

• We were provided with alternative explanations for the audio recording, which was a short excerpt from a much longer recording, and for the images posted online.

• The alleged victim’s family participated in the process and were given the opportunity to review and correct our factual findings.

Last week the media reported that we had decided to reintegrate Mason and that elements of a plan to do so had been leaked to them. Reintegration was one of the outcomes we considered and planned for. For context, over the course of the past six months several outcomes have been contemplated and planned for, and my view has evolved as our process progressed.

While the ultimate decision rested with me, I was taking various factors and views into account right up until the point of finalising my decision. While I am satisfied that Mason did not commit the acts he was charged with, Mason’s accepted that he has made mistakes which he takes responsibility for. I am also mindful of the challenge that Mason would face rebuilding his career and raising a baby together with his partner in the harsh spotlight of Manchester United.

Further, this case has provoked strong opinions, and it is my responsibility to minimise any distraction to the unity we are seeking within the club. Although we have decided that Mason will seek to rebuild his career away from Manchester United, that does not signal the end of this matter. The club will continue to offer its support both to the alleged victim and Mason to help them rebuild and move forward positively with their lives.

Thank you for your continued support,
Richard Arnold

Greenwood said on Monday: “I want to start by saying I understand that people will judge me because of what they have seen and heard on social media, and I know people will think the worst. 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.

“However, I fully accept I made mistakes in my relationship, and I take my share of responsibility for the situations which led to the social media post. I am learning to understand my responsibilities to set a good example as a professional footballer, and I’m focused on the big responsibility of being a father, as well as a good partner.

“Today’s decision has been part of a collaborative process between Manchester United, my family and me. 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. I thank the club for their support since I joined aged seven. There will always be a part of me which is United.

“I am enormously grateful to my family and all my loved ones for their support, and it is now for me to repay the trust those around me have shown. I intend to be a better footballer, but most importantly a good father, a better person, and to use my talents in a positive way on and off the pitch.”

During United’s internal process, overseen by the CEO, Richard Arnold, they have talked to relevant parties and stakeholders. The Guardian was told in early February club staff were split over whether Greenwood should be allowed to resume his career at the club.

That divide has remained, with a substantial proportion of the workforce understood to have felt deeply unhappy at the prospect of Greenwood playing for the club again, whereas others felt a duty of care toward a player who joined aged seven and has not been found guilty of any crime. Expectation among staff had been that Greenwood would be allowed to continue with United.

United had intended to make an announcement before their first Premier League game but delayed their decision to continue their consultation process. There were plans to involve their England Women’s World Cup players – Mary Earps, Ella Toone and Katie Zelem – who reached Sunday’s final.

United are owned by the Glazer family but they delegated the decision to Arnold, who has headed an executive panel that also included Collette Roche, the chief operating officer, and Patrick Stewart, the legal head. As part of its investigation, the panel looked at similar cases in sport, news, music, media and the entertainment sectors.

Greenwood has played 129 times for United, scoring 35 times, and has made one England appearance.