Manchester United have finally broken their silence on the allegations of domestic abuse made against their forward Antony, saying they are “taking this matter seriously”.
Antony’s former girlfriend, Gabriela Cavallin, first went public with allegations of domestic abuse against the player in June but it is only after a series of interviews this week that United have said something.
The 23-year-old, who strongly denies the allegations, was dropped by Brazil for this international window and there was pressure on United to make a statement on the accusations, especially after being heavily criticised for their handling of Mason Greenwood, another player accused of domestic abuse.
In a statement on Wednesday, the club said: “Manchester United acknowledges the allegations made against Antony and notes that the police are conducting enquiries. Pending further information, the club will be making no further comments. As a club, we are taking this matter seriously, with consideration of the impact of these allegations and subsequent reporting will have on survivors of abuse.”
United did not say whether Antony remains available for selection.
In an interview with Brazilian website UOL – which also published photographs and screenshots of messages between the pair – Cavallin this week claimed she was attacked by Antony “with a headbutt” in a Manchester hotel room on 15 January, leaving her with a cut head which needed treatment from a doctor.
Cavallin, a social media influencer, also alleges she was punched in the chest by Antony, which caused damage to a silicone breast implant which then required corrective surgery back in Brazil. The matter has been reported to police in São Paulo and in Manchester.
Antony, who has not been charged or arrested, dismissed the claims as “false accusations”. He wrote on Instagram: “From the beginning I have treated this matter with seriousness and respect, providing the necessary clarifications before the police authority.
“However, I can calmly state that the accusations are false and that the evidence already produced and the other evidence that will be produced demonstrate that I am innocent of the accusations made. My relationship with Gabriela was tumultuous, with verbal insults from both sides, but I never committed any physical aggression.
“Therefore, I come to vehemently deny the accusations made and inform you that I remain at the entire disposal of the Brazilian authorities to clarify whatever is necessary. I trust that the ongoing police investigations will demonstrate the truth about my innocence.”
The allegations against Antony come after United announced last month that Mason Greenwood would leave Old Trafford. The player was suspended by the club on January 30, 2022 over allegations relating to a young woman after images and videos were posted online. He was charged by Greater Manchester police with attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour and assault in October 2022.
The charges, all of which Greenwood denied, were dropped in February this year, with the Crown Prosecution Service saying “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”.
United faced a fierce backlash for the way they dealt with the case, announcing after a six-month internal investigation that “based on the evidence available to us, we have 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”.
The former United player Gary Neville was one of many people to criticise the club at the time: “They’ve finally got there. It was clear from day one, for me and anybody who saw the evidence that was initially released, that he wouldn’t play for Manchester United again,” he said.
“I would say that the process in getting there has been pretty horrible. When you have significant and difficult situations like this, it requires an authoritative leadership, that comes the very top and Manchester United don’t have that.”
Greenwood joined Spanish side Getafe on loan for the 2023-24 season last week and was unveiled by the club on Tuesday.