Football has been urged to do more to stop domestic violence after Manchester United star Antony became the latest high-profile player to face accusations.
The 23-year-old winger was dropped from the Brazil squad on Monday night, just days after Mason Greenwood left United on loan for Getafe following a six-month club investigation.
Antony has denied claims by his ex-girlfriend Gabriela Cavallin that he attacked her while she was pregnant, damaged her breast implant, cut her finger with a glass and threatened to throw her out of a speeding car.
He released a statement in June saying he had been falsely accused by his former girlfriend of domestic violence. Antony accepted in a recent statement that his relationship with his former partner was ‘tumultuous’ but insisted he ‘never committed any physical aggression’.
United have declined to comment but are coming under pressure to act after being dragged into another domestic violence storm in the wake of Greenwood’s departure.
Football has been urged to do more to stop domestic violence after several abuse accusations
Man United’s Antony has been removed from the Brazil squad after his ex-girlfriend accused him of threatening her while pregnant, damaging breast implants and cutting her finger
The news comes just days after Mason Greenwood (pictured) left United on loan to join Getafe
The club decided that the 21-year-old can no longer player for them after he was suspended for 18 months following allegations of attempted rape and assault, even though the Crown Prosecution Service dropped all charges in February. Greenwood denies the claims.
Female Fans Against Greenwood’s Return, set up to campaign against the possibility of him wearing the United shirt again, responded to the latest accusations made against Antony by his former partner and called for clubs to do more to tackle the problem.
The statement read: ‘The allegations against Antony are horrific and show that clubs and football authorities need to step their game up in how they respond to these issues, because they’re going to keep happening.
‘There need to be protocols in place that take decisions out of club hands as we know clubs are incapable of being objective and acting in the wider best interest in these cases.
‘Charities and organisations which work to support both survivors and perpetrators of abuse need to be central to developing and advising on how to handle these cases and swifter action needs to be taken in cases where those working in football are arrested and charged for crimes of violence and abuse to protect and support both fans and their colleagues within their clubs/the wider football industry.’
Domestic abuse organisation Refuge called on the FA, Premier League and clubs to adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards the problem.
Tracy Blackwell, director of strategic insights and partnerships at Refuge, said: ‘Refuge is deeply concerned by the number of domestic abuse allegations involving high profile sports figures, such as footballers, that have been emerging in the media over the last few months, and the responses that clubs have had to these.
‘Powerful men so often use their status and their wealth to silence women. It is important that the FA, Premier League, and clubs make it clear to their fans, that they do not condone any forms of violence against women and girls. Domestic abuse is a crime and should be treated as such.
Rosilene Silva, the girlfriend of Antony, left the couple’s home after Brazil axed the forward amid allegations that he had assaulted his ex-girlfriend
The DJ and influencer Gabriela Cavallin made the allegations against her former partner with investigations ongoing
‘Swift action needs to be taken to adopt a zero-tolerance policy to abuse and address this culture of violence against women and girls within football.’
National charity Women’s Aid claimed that allowing footballers facing allegations to continue playing sends out the wrong message to society.
A Women’s Aid spokesperson said: ‘Domestic abuse is prevalent in our society and all employers, including football clubs, need clear policies and procedures about what to do when allegations are made against an employee.
‘When the alleged perpetrator is a high-profile footballer, we know from survivors of domestic abuse that has an impact on both football fans and wider society, who see them playing and celebrated on the pitch as a sign that the allegations are not being taken seriously by the club.
‘Safeguarding is vital in these cases, to ensure the safety of everyone involved while proceedings are ongoing.’