A picture is worth a thousand words. But, for Mason Greenwood, it was a fate far worse than just a thousand words. The Manchester United youngster was embroiled in controversy when Harriet Robson, his girlfriend, uploaded pictures, videos and audio clips on her account that suggested she was a victim of physical abuse. “To everyone who wants to know what Mason Greenwood actually does to me,” the caption said.
— Sir Alex Wilshere (@kb_gyan) March 31, 2022
This issue immediately erupted with Manchester United suspending the player. He was later arrested. He came out on bail but has been away from all the limelight. And with him gone, and Ronaldo wanting a transfer, Manchester United are looking for potential striker options.
And now, after a nine-month investigation by the Greater Manchester Police (GMP), Greenwood has been cleared of all charges. In a statement, Chief Superintendent Michaela Kerr, GMP’s Head of Public Protection, said, “Given the significant media coverage of this case, it is only fair that we share the news that the 21-year-old man, who had been arrested and charged in connection with an investigation opened in January 2022, no longer faces criminal proceedings in relation to this”.
However, it remains to be seen whether Manchester United will lift the suspension that has been in force since he was accused.
Where is Mason Greenwood?
Despite keeping a low profile since his arrest, Mason Greenwood was spotted for the first time on April 1, driving a car around Cheshire while being clad in a Cartier balaclava.
Fans on social media suddenly started asking about his whereabouts after discovering that Greenwood’s profile was still present on Manchester United’s website. It is to be noted that United had barred him from the club and its premises. In addition, his profile was also removed, which was the reason for fans wondering whether he may be reinstated into the team.
However, Manchester Evening News journalist Samuel Luckhurst reported that his profile was only removed from the club’s app and not the website. This means that the club’s stance on the issue has remained the same.
On Mason Greenwood's profile, it was removed from the United app when he was removed from the squad in January to exclude him from interactive elements. His profile has always been listed on the desktop website as he's an #mufc player. Club say Greenwood's status hasn't changed.
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) March 31, 2022
This prompted replies from several fans who wanted Greenwood back on the team. Some fans even went as far as proclaiming that he is innocent and raised suspicions about Harriet Robson’s claim.
Several fans also said that Greenwood was one of the few positives in a season where they suffered humiliating defeats.
Cases such as these taking months or even years to conclude, it could be a long time before Greenwood (if he is acquitted on all the charges) takes the field. However, given Manchester United’s impressive form this season, Greenwood’s absence has not affected them on the field.
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Is Mason Greenwood still a Manchester United player?
Yes, he still is. Despite being suspended by the club, he remained a player. And the club never took the step to terminate his contract. The reason was simple. If Greenwood in the future is declared free of all charges which he has been now, the act of terminating his contract would have been deemed unlawful. Under these circumstances, Greenwood could have sued the club, which could have been more than what his contract is worth.
Meanwhile, Greenwood’s sponsor, Nike, had no such difficulty as they ended their contract with the player without any payment. However, the American multinational corporation had a clause in the contract which helped them. Under the clause, if Greenwood’s actions caused damage to Nike’s reputation and a loss of commercial value, the agreement could be immediately terminated.
United are obliged to pay the player 75,000 pounds per week through 2025, the terms of the last contract he signed.
Is Mason Greenwood’s career over after the drop of charges?
Greenwood had his bail extended twice before. So, until he was denied bail or conclusive charges were brought against him, he was free to move, considering he followed all the bail rules. Manchester United had made it clear that Greenwood would not be back until the legal proceedings came to an end.
And now, with the charges dropped, Greenwood is innocent for now, and it is now on Manchester United to decide whether they want to have him back in the squad. The club could also come to an understanding with the player and prematurely terminate his contract.
- January 30, 2022: Pictures of a bloodied, bruised Harriet Robson appear on her Instagram account. Though later deleted, the images went viral on various social media platforms.
- January 30, 2022: Greater Manchester Police released a statement. “Greater Manchester Police were made aware earlier today (Sunday, January 30) of online social media images and videos posted by a woman reporting incidents of physical violence. An investigation was launched, and following enquiries, we can confirm a man in his 20s has since been arrested on suspicion of rape and assault. He remains in custody for questioning. Enquiries are ongoing,” the statement said
- January 30, 2022: Manchester United released a statement on the same day suspending Greenwood. “Mason Greenwood will not return to training or play matches until further notice,” the statement read.
- January 30, 2022: Reports emerge that Mason Greenwood will be arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and threat to kill.
- January 31, 2022: Greenwood is arrested on suspicion of sexual assault.
- February 1, 2022: Manchester United issues a new statement on the issue. “Manchester United reiterates its strong condemnation of violence of any kind. As previously communicated, Mason Greenwood will not train with, or play for, the club until further notice,” the statement read.
- February 1, 2022: Mason Greenwood is removed from FIFA 22 offline modes.
- February 2, 2022: Greenwood is released on bail. The bail expiry date is set for April 30.
- February 4, 2022: Harriet Robson issues a statement for the first time since her photos went viral. “I’m grateful to everyone that has sent messages of support and encouragement – thank you. “The last few days have been very difficult, and I’m taking a break from social media while the police make their investigations,” she wrote on Instagram.
- February 7, 2022: Nike terminates their contract with Greenwood.
- February 7, 2022: PES and FIFA removed Greenwood from their games.
- February 25, 2022: Greenwood is removed from Football Manager 22
- April 1, 2022: Mason Greenwood is spotted for the first time since the allegations.
- April 30, 2022: The expiry date of Greenwood’s bail.
- May 1, 2022: The bail is extended after Greater Manchester Police applied to the court
- June 23, 2022: Another hearing where his bail is further extended.
- August 6, 2022: Mason Greenwood is spotted for a rare appearance after catching his parents’ runaway dog.
- October 15, 2022: Mason Greenwood is again arrested from his home at Bowdon in Greater Manchester on suspicion of breaching his bail conditions. “Greater Manchester police are aware of an allegation regarding a 21-year-old man breaching his bail conditions, and an arrest has been made on Saturday, 15 October 2022,” a statement from GMP said.
- February 2, 2023: After a nine-month-long investigation by the Greater Manchester Police, all charges were dropped against Greenwood. The spokesperson for the police said, “In this case, a combination of the withdrawal of key witnesses and new material that came to light meant there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction. In these circumstances, we are under a duty to stop the case”.