Manchester United striker Mason Greenwood has said he is “relieved” after attempted rape and assault charges against him were dropped.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the withdrawal of key witnesses and new material coming to light were factors in the decision to stop the case against the 21-year-old.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said it was “only fair” it announced that Greenwood would no longer face criminal proceedings, but urged any potential victims of crime not to “let this case put you off asking for help”.
In a short statement released on Greenwood’s behalf after the charges were dropped, he said: “I am relieved that this matter is now over and I would like to thank my family, loved ones and friends for their support.
“There will be no further comment at this time.”
The PA news agency understands Greenwood will not return to playing or training while United carry out their own internal investigation.
A statement from the club read: “Manchester United notes the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service that all charges against Mason Greenwood have been dropped.
“The club will now conduct its own process before determining next steps. We will not make any further comment until that process is complete.”
In its statement confirming the case had been discontinued, the CPS said: “We have a duty to keep cases under continuous review.
“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.
“We have explained our decision to all parties.
“We would always encourage any potential victims to come forward and report to police and we will prosecute wherever our legal test is met.”
Greenwood, who has been capped once for England, was first held in January over allegations relating to a young woman, after images and videos were posted online.
Nike suspended and later terminated its sponsorship deal with Greenwood, while Electronic Arts confirmed his removal from active squads on its Fifa 22 game.
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.
“The investigation team has remained in regular contact with the legal team, providing any updates of note, and so understand the rationale for the discontinuation of proceedings at this stage, and that this decision has not been taken lightly.”
Ms Kerr said an “ever increasing number of officers are receiving specialist training” and the force is more consistently using tools to keep people safe and care for victims.
“If you feel you are or might be a victim, please don’t let this case put you off asking for help,” she added.