Antony given leave of absence by Manchester United over assault allegations

Winger, who was dropped from Brazil squad earlier in week, says he will cooperate with police

Antony joined Manchester United from Dutch side Ajax in the summer of 2022. PA
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Manchester United winger Antony has agreed to take “a period of absence” from the club to address allegations he assaulted a former girlfriend.

The 23-year-old was earlier this week dropped from the Brazil squad after accusations of physical aggression on several occasions since January towards his former girlfriend Gabriela Cavallin, which are being investigated by police and which he denies.

United have agreed with the player for him to stay away from the club in order to focus on defending himself.

Antony has not been arrested or charged and says he will co-operate with police in order to prove his innocence.

He appeared on Brazilian TV on Friday, saying: “I never attacked any woman,” and added that “the truth will come out”.

“I have agreed with Manchester United to take a period of absence while I address the allegations made against me,” he said in a statement.

“This was a mutual decision to avoid distraction to my teammates and unnecessary controversy for the club. I want to reiterate my innocence of the things I have been accused of, and I will fully co-operate with the police to help them reach the truth. I look forward to returning to play as soon as possible.”

Manchester United said in their statement: “Players who have not participated in international matches are due back in training on Monday. However, it has been agreed with Antony that he will delay his return until further notice in order to address the allegations.

“As a club we condemn acts of violence and abuse. We recognise the importance of safeguarding all those involved in this situation, and acknowledge the impact these allegations have on survivors of abuse.”

The latest development comes after United faced heavy criticism for their handling of the Mason Greenwood affair.

The 21-year-old had been suspended since January 2022, over allegations relating to a young woman after images and videos were posted online.

Greenwood was facing charges including attempted rape and assault until the Crown Prosecution Service announced that the case had been discontinued.

After months of speculation, and following reports claiming that United intended to reintegrate him into their first-team squad, the club released a statement saying that Greenwood would be continuing his football career away from Old Trafford.

In a statement, Greenwood said he had “made mistakes” and took his “share of responsibility”, but added: “I did not do the things I was accused of”.

Last week, he joined La Liga side Getafe on a season-long loan but his arrival in Spain has drawn criticism from domestic abuse charities.

Updated: September 10, 2023, 12:53 PM