Manchester United’s women fans have taken issue with the club’s handling of the ongoing Antony situation.
Antony was accused by a number of women including his ex-partner Gabriela Cavallin, of domestic violence, sexual assault, causing bodily harm and issuing threats.
The Brazilian has vehemently denied all allegations against him.
He was given a leave of absence by United, which only lasted for 19 days before the club elected to bring him back.
A report covered by The Peoples Person indicated that members of the women’s team were consulted before the decision was taken to re-integrate him.
Antony was subjected to a five-hour grilling by Greater Manchester Police over the accusations brought forward against him by his alleged victims.
The 23-year-old was on the bench for the Red Devils during their 3-2 loss against Galatasaray on Tuesday at Old Trafford.
He later came on as a substitute.
It’s understood that the winger is in contention to start for the Red Devils vs. Brentford on Saturday.
Amidst all this, Natalie Burrell, the founder of Manchester United’s Women’s Supporters’ Club, wrote for The Athletic and expressed her concern with how events surrounding Antony have transpired, and how United seem to have already moved on.
According to Burrell, she was “apathetic” when the player came on against Galatasaray and seemed astonished at the mixed reception he received from the crowd.
She further wrote, “Manchester United are not just a football club. They are a community, a vehicle of change, and culturally significant to a lot of people.”
“We’ve just had the Mason Greenwood issue, and now it’s Antony. I know it’s a different situation as Antony has not been arrested. And to be fair to United, I don’t think they could have handled the Antony situation — up to the moment he was named in the squad for Tuesday night — much differently, while it is important not to try someone via social media.”
“But, as a woman, you may have gone through these sorts of things yourself, or have friends who have been through it.
Yet, the sweep-it-under-the-carpet approach adopted by football when it comes to accusations of violence against women is systemic. One in four women have suffered domestic violence in the UK, and globally this extends to one in three, so it hits to the core.”
She urged the 20-time English champions to work closely and actively with Women’s Aid in addition to putting on domestic violence and sexual assault workshops for their men’s team.
Burrell added that United have a responsibility to ensure their players speak directly to and learn from the experiences of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors.
Another suggestion is to invite these victims to games at Old Trafford in order to understand their respective points of view.
She states that for most organisations like United and the Premier League, the bottom line is money and how much can be reaped from the sport – everything else including morality is secondary.
Burrell also took a swipe at the Glazers under whom United have been converted into a bottomless money pit that is only concerned with enriching its shareholders.
“The Glazers don’t care about the community of Manchester. All that matters is the colour of your money. That was shown by Galatasaray fans being able to celebrate in the home seats. The fish rots from the head, and all the Glazers care about is money, so why would they care about violence against women?”