After a months-long internal investigation into now-dropped allegations, the club said it had mutually agreed with the player on his departure.
Footballer Mason Greenwood’s departure from Manchester United will be a relief for many survivors of abuse, a charity tackling domestic violence has said.
Greenwood, 21, had been suspended by the club for most of this year, over allegations relating to a young woman, after images and videos were posted online.
In February charges of attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, all involving the same complainant, were dropped, with the footballer at the time saying he was “relieved that this matter is now over”.
After a months-long internal investigation into the allegations made against him, Manchester United announced on Monday that it had mutually agreed with the player that he would leave the club.
Manchester United said while it had concluded the player “did not commit the offences in respect of which he was originally charged”, it recognised “the difficulties with him recommencing his career” at the club.
The decision followed controversy last week when it was reported that United, a club Greenwood joined aged just seven, were planning to bring the player back.
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
Countdown star Rachel Riley said she would not be able to continue supporting the club if Greenwood was allowed to remain playing there.
In his own statement on Monday, Greenwood repeated that he had not done “the things I was accused of” but accepted he had “made mistakes” and took “my share of responsibility for the situations which led to the social media post”.
The charity Women’s Aid said many would feel relieved at Greenwood’s departure, and called for more to be done early on to tackle attitudes to abuse, including in football.
A spokeswoman for the organisation said: “We know that today’s news from Manchester United that Greenwood will be moving on from the club will be a relief for many survivors of domestic and sexual abuse.
“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.”
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
“We have heard first hand the impact this case and the related materials shared on social media have had on survivors of abuse, and while next steps are established following the outcome of Manchester United’s internal investigation, this will happen away from centre stage of Old Trafford.”
The charity said attitudes underpinning domestic and sexual abuse must be addressed, and work needs to be done “with players from a young age to make it clear that clubs stand against sexism and misogyny”.
Women’s Aid added that the issue “reaches far wider than football, with misogynistic content widely available on social media, so it is important to recognise how widespread harmful attitudes are and address this”.
The PA news agency understands the club is working with Greenwood’s family to find the right environment for him to continue his career, with discussions under way to find the correct solution.
In his statement, Greenwood added: “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.”
At the time of the case against him being discontinued, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the withdrawal of key witnesses and new material coming to light were factors in the decision.
Manchester United said that the club had “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”, but added that the player had publicly acknowledged “he has made mistakes which he is taking responsibility for”.
The club said: “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.”