Manchester United have refused to declare Antony unavailable for selection after releasing a statement in which they said they are taking allegations he attacked his former girlfriend “seriously”.
The 23-year-old is being investigated by police in both Brazil and England after Gabriella Cavallin claimed the forward punched and headbutted her and tried to throw her out of a car.
Antony was dropped from the Brazil national team squad when the Brazilian website UoL published an interview with Cavallin in which she claimed the winger threatened to kill her and attacked her with a glass.
Antony called the accusations “false” in a post on his Instagram account on Monday, when he described himself as “innocent”.
United stressed their concern for victims of abuse but did not confirm if they are conducting an internal investigation into Antony’s alleged behaviour.
Their statement read: “Manchester United acknowledges the allegations made against Antony and notes that the Police are conducting enquiries. Pending further information, the club will be making no further comments. As a club we are taking this matter seriously, with consideration of the impact of these allegations and subsequent reporting will have on survivors of abuse.”
Police in Sao Paulo are looking into Cavallin’s allegations. She accused Antony of assaulting her and threatening to throw her out of a speeding car in Brazil last summer, when she was pregnant.
Greater Manchester Police are investigating Cavallin’s claims that Antony punched and headbutted her in Manchester in January as well as an incident in May.
Antony said on Monday: “I can calmly state that the accusations are false and that the evidence already produced and the other evidence that will be produced demonstrate that I am innocent of the accusations made. I trust that the ongoing police investigations will demonstrate the truth about my innocence.”
The £86m signing described his relationship with Cavallin as “tumultuous” but claimed there was no “physical aggression” from him.
But Antony was removed from the Brazil squad on Monday when the Brazilian Football Federation saying the accusations “needed to be investigated”.
United have been under pressure to act. The Female Fans Against Greenwood’s Return, an alliance of supporters who thought Mason Greenwood should not play for the club again, said: “The allegations against Antony are horrific.” The United supporter and television presenter Rachel Riley said it was “heinous stuff” while domestic abuse charities and support group had expressed their concern.
United suspended forward Mason Greenwood for 18 months before eventually concluding he would not play for them again. Following the release of audio and pictures, the England international was charged with offences including attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
While those charges were dropped after a key witness withdrew their cooperation, United then conducted an internal investigation and new evidence came to light. Greenwood has always denied the charges but has recently admitted making “mistakes”.