Charges of attempted rape and assault have been dropped against Manchester United footballer Mason Greenwood.
The 21-year-old was arrested in January 2022 amid allegations surrounding images and videos. He was later charged with attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
In a statement, Greenwood said he was “relieved” and thanked his family and friends for supporting him. The Crown Prosecution Service said the charges were discontinued after key witnesses withdrew their involvement.
A spokesman 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.”
In a statement released on Greenwood’s behalf, the 21-year-old 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.”
Within hours of the allegations surfacing at the beginning of 2022, the forward, who has made one appearance for England, was suspended from playing or training with the Old Trafford club.
A Manchester United representative said the club had noted “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,” they said.
“We will not make any further comment until that process is complete.”
The BBC understands that Greenwood will not return to training or play until this process is complete.
Greater Manchester Police said it was “only fair” to announce Greenwood would no longer face criminal proceedings.
Ch Supt Michaela Kerr said the decision had “not been taken lightly”.
She added: “I would, however, like to use this opportunity to reiterate the force’s commitment to investigating allegations of violence against women and girls and supporting those affected, regardless of their circumstances, throughout what can be a hard and upsetting time for them.”