Manchester United have been making tons of headlines in recent weeks for all of the wrong reasons.
Whether it be the club considering reintegrating accused domestic abused Mason Greenwood back into the team, winger Antony being accused of domestic abuse by multiple women and subsequently being dropped from the Brazilian team, or the general play of the team on the pitch (highlighted by a late loss to Tottenham Hotspur), the start of United’s 2023-24 Premier League campaign has been far from ideal.
This latest headline, though, might be the most troubling yet, as reports indicate that the club invited Geoff Konopka, a convicted pedophile, to their grounds as a “guest of honor” at the biggest match in the history of their women’s team without knowing of his criminal past.
Geoff Konopka was the manager of Manchester United Ladies between 1983 and 2001, but was sentenced to four years in prison in 2011 and put on the sex offenders register for a decade after being convicted of offenses of indecent assault and gross indecency against girls aged under 16.
However, he was invited by United to attend the women’s team’s fixture against Everton in March 2022, the first WSL match to be held at Old Trafford. He was also featured positively in a profile of United’s history in the women’s game published on the club’s website in July of last year. [via The Guardian]
In a statement, United apologized and claimed to have no knowledge of the charges against Konopka, claiming they only “recently received information about these convictions.”
“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 said in an official statement.
“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.”
The troubles for United this week don’t end there, though, as two more women have recently accused Antony of domestic violence, bringing the total number of women making claims about him to three.