Antony return to Manchester United will not be a distraction – Erik ten Hag
The 23-year-old was given a leave of absence on September 10 and returned to England from Brazil earlier this week, before attending a voluntary interview with Greater Manchester Police on Thursday.
Antony has always denied the allegations against him and United confirmed on Friday morning the winger will rejoin training and can resume playing Ten Hag’s side.
The Premier League club said in a statement: “Since allegations were first made in June, Antony has co-operated with police inquiries in both Brazil and the UK, and he continues to do so.
“As Antony’s employer, Manchester United has decided that he will resume training at Carrington, and be available for selection, while police inquiries proceed.
“This will be kept under review pending further developments in the case.
“As a club we condemn acts of violence and abuse. We recognise the importance of safeguarding all those involved in this situation, and acknowledge the impact these allegations have on survivors of abuse.”
United released the statement just over two hours before Ten Hag faced the media to preview Saturday’s match against Crystal Palace.
Antony will not be involved in that Premier League encounter but will return to training with the group on the day of the game.
“We make the statement, so I refer to the statement,” Ten Hag said. “I think everything has been made clear in the statement.
“No, I don’t think it’s a distraction. We focus on the games and he will do as well.”
Asked for details on his return, the Dutchman said: “On Saturday, he will be back in the training, so tomorrow.
“I have to see (how fit he is), but I think, yeah (he’s fit).”
Antony is facing several accusations of physical aggression towards his former girlfriend Gabriela Cavallin, who spoke to Brazilian outlet UOL earlier this month.
The winger has denied those allegations, as well as further assault claims made by Rayssa de Freitas and Ingrid Lana.
Antony has not been arrested or charged in either Brazil or by GMP and he left the voluntary interview, where he presented evidence to support his strenuous denials, without any restrictions.
United will continue to monitor the situation while police enquiries are going on.
Boss Ten Hag did not want to stray into “hypothetical” discussions about Antony or stray too far away from the club statement on Friday.
Asked about the player’s state of mind on whether the player may be distracted by the serious accusations, the United boss said: “I can’t tell at this moment. First he has to be back.
“I’ve spoken to him (over the last couple of weeks), but that doesn’t give the impression how he is, how his mental status is.”
A spokesperson for the charity Women’s Aid said: “We know that this morning’s news from Manchester United about their player, Antony, returning to training and selection while police inquiries continue will have an impact on survivors of domestic abuse.
“We urge the national football organisations to work with specialist services, like Women’s Aid, to provide much-needed guidance for clubs on domestic abuse and the handling of domestic abuse cases.
“An informed and consistent approach is vital in order to create a society where domestic abuse is not tolerated and we will be writing to the national organisations to raise this.”