Manchester United would struggle to sack disgraced forward Mason Greenwood without a confession, it has been revealed.
Following allegations that Greenwood abused his former partner which saw audio and images released online, Man United announced Greenwood would not play, or train, for the club until further notice. The Englishman was arrested by Police but has since been released on bail.
And while United have not yet gone so far as to officially suspend the player while they allow the legal process to take place, sacking the player has likely come under consideration.
However, it has been revealed by lawyers that sacking Greenwood would prove difficult without an admission of guilt.
Speaking to The Athletic on the matter, John Mehrzad QC said: “I don’t think they have enough to sack him unless he makes an admission. If he denies the allegations, it all turns on a trial.”
United could in theory move to officially suspend the player, but under Premier League contractual rules aligned with the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) they would only be able to do this for 14 days.
Mehrzhad, who is also a common member of sports arbitration panels, added: “United can plainly reach a settlement agreement with him to terminate pre-trial but I cannot see that happening.
“It would be terrible PR for United to pay off a player facing such allegations, and why would he agree to it when he continues to be paid and no other club will touch him unless the allegations are dropped or he is acquitted?”
David Seligman, an associate with Brandsmiths law firm elaborated on this further, saying: “If they decide to sack him, because, from a PR perspective, it’s what they should do, the player has seven days to appeal.
“Once you put the appeal in, the sacking is put on hold. Then it goes to an arbitration tribunal, which decides whether the sacking is justified. If the sacking is justified, the player is sacked. If not, the player is reinstated.”
However, he added an important counter-point to this, stating: “Not being charged with a criminal offence isn’t necessarily a free pass for Greenwood.
“The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will only charge you if they think they can convict you to the criminal standard of proof — beyond reasonable doubt. Whereas you can terminate a contract on the balance of probabilities. A club could form an argument for termination.”
It is a tricky legal situation for all those involved, and all we can do is hope the legal process concludes in the appropriate implementation of justice.