As many of you will already be aware, the footballer Mason Greenwood has recently had his charges of rape, assault, and domestic violence dropped after the victim withdrew her cooperation with the CPS. While the pressure placed on victims of sexual crimes lies outside of what we are looking at, there are important employment and contractual concepts that we can look at to infer what has happened between the footballer and the club.

For a dismissal for alleged misconduct the dismissal must be sufficiently approximate to warrant the dismissal. Failing to act quickly in response to the knowledge of misconduct amounts to acceptance by the employer of the situation. This raises the question that, if Manchester United had conducted an investigation and found the allegations merit-worthy, why has it taken then almost 6 months in order to part ways with the footballer?

We would suggest that there are two potential options. The first is that the club was waiting to take the temperature of the public outcry prior to making any announcement. Employers do not need to wait for the outcome of criminal investigations to come to their own conclusions on an issue. If the club had a genuine belief after conducting their investigations, they could have terminated his contract shortly thereafter. Their investigation either couldn’t show sufficient evidence that he had committed the alleged offences, or they did, but the club used the criminal investigation outcome to shield themselves from making a decision.

The second option is that having waited too long in order for the dismissal to be done fairly, they have agreed terms of termination via a settlement. Given the well known value of footballers contracts one can only imagine the amount that was included in that agreement.