Manchester United staff are split over whether Mason Greenwood should be allowed to resume his career at the club, the Guardian has been told.
United are weighing up the striker’s future after prosecutors dropped an attempted rape case against him. Although a substantial proportion of the workforce would be deeply unhappy if Greenwood played for the club again, others feel a duty of care toward a player who joined at seven and has not been found guilty of any crime.
On Thursday the Crown Prosecution Service said there was “no longer a realistic prospect of conviction” after key witnesses withdrew their cooperation from the investigation. Greenwood had been charged with attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He denied the charges.
United have launched an internal process, overseen by the CEO, Richard Arnold, to determine their next steps. The club was unable to launch its inquiry until the case against Greenwood was dropped. The Guardian understands it could go either way regarding the 21-year-old staying at the club, where he has a contract to 2025.
There will be consideration of any potential commercial impact of keeping Greenwood and of how the episode has affected the United brand and been received by their “global partners”, who are monitoring the situation.
On Friday the Guardian contacted the 25 “global partners”, headed by Adidas and TeamViewer, listed on the club website, to ask whether they wanted Greenwood to leave and whether they wanted to be consulted on the matter.
TeamViewer said that it would be making no comment. Another partner, Ecolab, confirmed it was in dialogue with United. An Ecolab spokesperson said: “Any question relating to the players and the operations of the club we would refer to Manchester United. We are aware of the topic and are in contact with the club. We have no comment to provide at this time.”
At Erik ten Hag’s Friday media briefing, the manager stonewalled questions about Greenwood. “I can’t give a comment about the process,” he said. “I can’t say anything about it. I refer to the statement of the club and at this moment I can’t add anything.”
The Dutchman did speak generally about the need to retain focus for Crystal Palace’s visit on Saturday. “We have to always focus on the game, no matter what, it is our job,” he said. “That is why we are here.”