Gary Neville has criticized Manchester United's handling of the Mason Greenwood investigation, describing it as "pretty horrible" and lacking strong leadership.
Greenwood, 21, will depart the club through mutual agreement following a six-month internal investigation. This decision came after charges against him, including attempted rape and assault, were dropped in February.
Neville, a former defender for Manchester United, expressed his thoughts on Sky Sports Monday Night Football, saying, “It was clear from day one that he wouldn’t play for Manchester United again.” He added that the process leading up to this decision had been distressing. Neville emphasized the importance of strong authoritative leadership, which he believes was lacking in this situation.
Another pundit, former England midfielder Karen Carney, echoed the sentiment, stating that the matter was “handled poorly” and created an “uneasy situation.”
Greenwood, an England international, was arrested in January 2022 due to allegations involving material published online. He later admitted to making mistakes but denied the specific accusations against him.
Manchester United stated that based on the evidence available, they concluded that the material online did not present the full picture and that Greenwood did not commit the offenses he was initially charged with. The club also mentioned the complexities of his potential reintegration into the team, particularly considering their women’s team and their input.
Carney criticized Manchester United’s handling of the situation, including conflicting statements and involving unnecessary stakeholders, such as female players. A group of female United supporters protested against Greenwood’s potential return, urging the club to take a zero-tolerance stance against violence towards women.
Neville called for the establishment of an independent panel to handle such matters, emphasizing that issues of this significance should not be solely under the jurisdiction of the club.
Sports lawyer Chris Farnell noted that Manchester United faced a difficult situation where they would face criticism regardless of their actions. He mentioned the importance of analyzing the conclusions the club reached and their reasons behind them.
Greenwood’s contract with Manchester United lasts until 2025, and his future could involve a sale or loan to another club. He remains on full pay but will not rejoin United’s training.
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