Manchester United have come under harsh criticism yet again, this time for inviting and treating convicted paedophile Geoff Konopka as a “guest of honour” at Old Trafford.
According to The Daily Mail, United invited Konopka to the club last year and branded him a “special guest,” during a match that was attended by thousands of women and children.
Konpoka was in charge of United’s women’s team between 1983 and 2001 before he was sentenced to four years in jail in 2011 due to indecent assault and gross indecency against girls aged under 16 and 14.
He was subsequently put on the sex offenders’ register for a decade.
As per The Mail, “United commemorated his career and featured him in the Old Trafford museum even though he had an ‘active suspension’ on the Football Association’s safeguarding system, which banned him from coaching or working with any team.”
When contacted, the Red Devils claimed they were unaware of Konopka’s status as a convicted paedophile.
A statement from the club read, “Manchester United has recently received information around these convictions, and as a matter of urgency has been in contact with the relevant legal and football authorities to substantiate the facts.”
“The club has taken appropriate action after receiving this information and will have no further connection with the individual. Manchester United expresses its heartfelt sympathy to the victims and all those affected by these abhorrent crimes.”
It’s understood that several former United Women players notified the club of Konopka’s past crimes while expressing their “shock” and “disgust” at how the 79-year-old was “paraded hand-in-hand with Manchester United.”
This latest nightmare comes as the 20-time English champions grapple with Antony’s situation.
The Brazilian winger was accused by his former partner Gabriela Cavallin of physical assault, causing bodily harm and threatening her among other things.
As a result, Antony was officially dismissed from the Brazil national team.
Greater Manchester Police issued a statement confirming they’re looking into the matter after they received a formal complaint.
Cavallin and her lawyers have now accused United of covering up the assault allegations levelled against their player.
She claims that the Old Trafford outfit dispatched a player support officer to the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Manchester where it’s alleged that Antony assaulted her on January 15.
Cavallin explained that not only did Antony headbutt her causing one of her breast implants to become dislodged, but she also suffered a severe cut on the finger as a result of a glass cup being thrown at her.
Her legal team alleges that the support officer attempted to hide details of the incident by enlisting the services of a club doctor to provide treatment as any visit to the hospital would have aroused suspicion.
Chris Wheeler notes, “United confirmed on Wednesday night that a member of staff arranged for a private doctor to visit Cavallin at Antony’s request, but denied that she was treated by any of the club’s medical staff.”
“It’s understood to be common for United’s welfare team to arrange for doctors to see partners and family members of players.”
“United insist that neither the club or the support officer were aware of any of the allegations of assault against Antony until they appeared in the Brazilian media in June.”
Erik ten Hag’s side have vehemently denied being involved in any cover-up designed to shield their player.
So far, United have resisted calls from domestic abuse campaigners to suspend Antony while investigations carry on. Yesterday, a short statement was released by United acknowledging the charges brought forward against their 23-year-old star.
They insisted that pending further information, no further comments would be issued as police inquiries continue.