Footballer Mason Greenwood: accused of sexual assault but plays football again in Spain

Jacco van Sterkenburg in NOS on the importance of football performance versus women's safety
Football on grass in stadium

Jacco van Sterkenburg (professor of football and inclusion at ESHCC) was interviewed by NOS following the developments surrounding footballer Mason Greenwood, who was accused of sexual and domestic violence against his girlfriend. The charges have been dropped and Greenwood is playing again after a suspension, which raises questions about the importance of women's safety versus the performance of footballers and what consequences clubs and football associations attach to this.

Greenwood, who as a talent was known as a 'starboy' at Manchester United, was suspended in England following the allegations. But after the charges were dropped, he has been pardoned by club Getafe in Spain, where he is being given a second chance on loan basis. Although he faces controversy in Spain, Manchester United fans also seem to want him back.

Performance at all costs

"Football fans also quickly go back to business as usual after such a controversy, and then the importance of performance is paramount," Van Sterkenburg told NOS. "The football world is dominated by men and narratives of masculinity, in which performance is considered the most important thing, sometimes even more essential than the perspective of female victims." Innocent until proven guilty is cited as a reason to give Greenwood a second chance.

More important than women's safety

But far from everyone agrees. The evidence is not yet out and a United female fan club is calling on the club to set an example, warning against a perception that violence against women has no real consequences. A return of the player would mean that footballers guilty of abuse are more important than women's safety. And it would not be the first time that men in football have been protected by a club or football federation.

Read the full article on (in Dutch)

Related content
Launch of new website marks completion European project on inclusion and diversity in football (iFLIPP)
Portrait picture of Jacco van Sterkenburg
Jacco van Sterkenburg en Palesa Mashigo present a MOOC on Coursera.
Woman with football
Jacco van Sterkenburg interviewed by Humberto Tan for the documentary ‘Allemaal Gelijk’ and by the Volkskrant regarding discrimination in football.
Football stadium
Trouw published an essay on stereotypes and recent developments in women's football. Jacco van Sterkenburg and Sandra Meeuwsen (ESPRIT) were interviewed.

Compare @count study programme

  • @title

    • Duration: @duration
Compare study programmes