Manchester United silent on Antony allegations amid calls for football to change | Manchester United

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Manchester United are staying silent despite growing pressure to take action against Antony, the Brazilian winger who has been accused of assault and domestic abuse by his former girlfriend Gabriela Cavallin, with fan groups and domestic abuse charities calling for the decision to be taken out of the club’s hands.

Cavallin outlined the allegations via the Brazilian news website UOL on Monday, and they have been reported to police in São Paulo and Greater Manchester. The Brazilian football confederation confirmed it had dropped Antony, 23, from the squad for the upcoming international games, but United have made no comment on the allegations – which first came to light in June – just two weeks after they confirmed Mason Greenwood would leave the club. . Greenwood was charged in October 2022 by Greater Manchester police with attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour and assault but the charges were dropped in February when the Crown Prosecution Service said there was “no longer a realistic prospect of conviction” after key witnesses withdrew their cooperation from the investigation. Greenwood denied all charges.

United have pointed to Antony’s own statement and refused to comment when approached by the Guardian. Antony denies all allegations.

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The domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid believes football clubs need “clear policies and procedures on what to do when allegations are made against” a player or employee. A spokesperson said: “When the alleged perpetrator is a high-profile footballer, we know from survivors of domestic abuse that has an impact on football fans and wider society, who see them playing and celebrated on the pitch as a sign that the allegations are not being taken seriously by the club.”

Tracy Blackwell from Refuge, another UK-based domestic abuse charity, said: “Powerful men so often use their status and their wealth to silence women. It is important that the FA, Premier League and clubs make it clear to their fans that they do not condone any forms of violence against women and girls.

“Domestic abuse is a crime and should be treated as such. Swift action needs to be taken to adopt a zero-tolerance policy to abuse and address this culture of violence against women and girls within football.”

The group of United fans who campaigned fiercely against Greenwood’s prospective return to the club also called for “protocols to take decisions out of clubs’ hands” on such matters. The Female Fans Against Greenwood’s Return group said: “The allegations against Antony are horrific and show clubs and football authorities need to step their game up in how they respond to these issues, because they’re going to keep happening. We know clubs are incapable of being objective and acting in the wider best interest in these cases.

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“Charities and organisations, which work to support survivors and perpetrators of abuse, need to be central to developing and advising on how to handle these cases and swifter action needs to be taken in cases where those working in football are arrested and charged for crimes of violence and abuse.” Antony has not been arrested or charged in Brazil or the UK.

Antony
Antony has been dropped from Brazil’s squad following the allegations. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

The TV presenter Rachel Riley, a lifelong United fan who threatened to end her support of the club if Greenwood was brought back, asked on Twitter, now known as X: “Is anyone doing any due diligence on these players? Heinous stuff described in these accusations. This time domestic abuse experts need to be involved in the club’s processes.”

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United are not in competitive action until 16 September when they host Brighton at Old Trafford, a fixture for which – as it stands – Antony will be available for selection.

Ms Cavallin, a DJ and social media influencer, accused Antony of offences that include attacking her with a glass and head-butting her, as well as threatening to kill her. She said he put her in the car, repeatedly assaulted her and threatened to throw her “out of the car at high speed … I was shaking with fear.”

She also alleges Antony punched her in the chest, causing damage to a silicone breast implant, prompting corrective surgery. Antony denies all charges, releasing a statement in which he said the relationship was “tumultuous” but that he “never practised any physical aggression”.

He said: “I can say with tranquility … that I am innocent of the accusations that have been made. My relationship with Ms Gabriela was tumultuous, with insults [made] on both sides, but never did I commit any act of physical aggression. Therefore, I vehemently deny these accusations and [would like] to make it clear that I remain willing to clear up whatever is necessary to Brazilian authorities.”

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