How Premier League could face #MeToo-style season of reckoning after Man United stars plagued by assault allegations

PREMIER League clubs could face a #MeToo-style season of reckoning after Manchester United stars past and present battled abuse allegations.

While allegations of sexual assault have plagued the entertainment industry, politics and academia, football has so far avoided deep scrutiny.

PAAntony is facing allegations of domestic abuse from his ex-girlfriend, which he denies[/caption]

GettyMason Greenwood, who now plays for Spanish side Getafe CF, was arrested for assault, attempted rape and coercive control[/caption]

PAUnited star Cristiano Ronaldo was accused of raping an American model[/caption]

The #MeToo movement was sparked in 2017 by bombshell allegations of abuse by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

He’s serving decades in prison for rape and sexual assault.

Leading charity Women’s Aid said the football industry could face its own #MeToo movement – where people publicise their experiences of sexual abuse or harassment.

United has already dealt with allegations of assault against at least three players in the last few years.

Antony‘s ex-girlfriend Gabriela Cavallin came forward with allegations of abuse against the £85million winger – sparking two separate police investigations in Manchester and Sao Paulo.

A total of four alleged attacks are described in a police report seen by ESPN.

Cavallin shared pictures showing bloodied clothes, sliced fingers, and a head wound from an alleged attack.

Antony has not been arrested or charged – and promised to “come up with the evidence” to prove the truth.

But the allegations have come just a year after United outcast Mason Greenwood was arrested for assault, attempted rape and coercive control.

The CPS chose not to proceed with the case against him but the club carried out their own probe and he left under “mutual agreement”.

And back in 2018, United star Cristiano Ronaldo was accused of raping American model Kathryn Mayorga in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009.

He denies the allegations and has never been charged.

The case was kicked out of court by a US judge in June last year after the accuser’s lawyer relied on leaked and stolen records.

But the alleged victim said she was encouraged to launch legal action after the rise of the #MeToo movement.

The woman’s lawyer, Leslie Stovall, said: “The #MeToo movement and the women who have stood up and disclosed sexual assaults publicly has given (her) a lot of courage and has, to a great extent, enabled her to come forward.”

Women’s Aid said any male-dominated industry could have a #MeToo movement – including football.

Teresa Parker, head of media relations for Women’s Aid, told The Sun: “Any male dominated industry – particularly where there is a lot of money and power involved – could have a ‘Me Too’ moment, including the football industry but also industries including music and comedy.

“Power and control underpins the majority of abuse against women.

“And it is important that while abuse can happen anywhere, that we understand the power dynamics at play in the workplace and respond to these in a bespoke way by developing policies and ensuring there is accountability for perpetrators.”

After the Greenwood fiasco and the criticism of the way United handled the situation, the club has tried to learn from their mistakes.

As a result, they have been a lot clearer handling the allegations surrounding Antony.

Women’s Aid praised the club for their swift action as Antony was due to return to training after the news broke.

After the criticism United received over the situation with Greenwood, Old Trafford chiefs spoke at length to Women’s Aid — and other charities — about how to deal with similar situations.

But the club did not expect another issue to arise quite so soon as allegations emerged against Antony.

As well as dealing with fresh allegations, four United stars have now been involved in a furious dressing-room bust-up.

With Greenwood and Antony off the field, Rio Ferdinand slammed United for failing to listen to Ralf Rangnick‘s warning about the state of the club.

Rangnick claimed United needed “open heart surgery” and wanted a squad overhaul in the summer of 2022.

Ferdinand believes United chiefs failed to listen to the German and they are now paying the price after Antony’s leave of absence and the dressing room bust-up.

The club has said it will cooperate with any police probe into Antony as he takes “a period of absence” following allegations made against him.

United has described any suggestion of a cover-up as “categorically false”.

The club said: “Manchester United acknowledges the allegations made against Antony.

“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.”

Other Premier League players – who have not been named – have also been accused of sexual assault.

In June, a woman claimed she was raped by a Prem League star as a teen in a bombshell interview.

Elsewhere, the Spanish government has already called for the fury over Luis Rubiales’ “kiss-gate” scandal to become football’s “Me Too moment”.

Footballer Jenni Hermoso claimed she “felt vulnerable and the victim of aggression” after the kiss from Rubiales.

She filed an official criminal case against Rubiales as the disgraced FA chief continues to deny any wrongdoing.

Víctor Francos, Secretary of State for Sport, said: “This should be the MeToo moment for Spanish football.”

Rubiales was later hit with a restraining order which bans him from contacting Hermoso or going near her.

“This is a critical moment in this country, people are moving towards more gender equality,” Carolina García, a sports journalist at Telemadrid TV network, said.

Graham Hunter, a British journalist who writes about Spanish football and has met Rubiales three times, said the events marked a “seismic” victory for the Spanish women’s team.

“Seismic is the only word for describing how these intelligent, talented women banded together, pointed out how they refused to be treated this way and generated extraordinary support around the world,” he told Al Jazeera.

InstagramAntony’s ex-girlfriend Gabriela Cavallin[/caption]

AP:Associated PressRonaldo was accused by American model Kathryn Mayorga of raping her in a Vegas hotel room[/caption]

ReutersUnited has dealt with allegations of assault against at least three players in the last few years[/caption]

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