Content Warning: Discussions of rape and assault.
“Players or officials serving indefinite suspensions from football, for any reason, are removed from Football Manager at the first opportunity,” said a spokesperson for the developer in a statement supplied to The Athletic.
“When suspensions or playing restrictions are lifted, the player or official will be reinstated in-game at the next scheduled update,” it justified.
Following his arrest last year on suspicion of rape and assault of a woman and subsequently suspicion of sexual assault and threats to kill, Greenwood was removed from Football Manager, FIFA 22, eFootball 2022 and PES 2021.
The club decided to suspend the player for 18 months pending investigation, allowing fans to exchange shirts that had his name on, though he is contracted to the club until 2025. Also, Nike severed its sponsorship of Greenwood, saying that it was “deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations”.
In February, the charges were dropped after key witnesses withdrew their involvement and new material was provided. “We have a duty to keep cases under continuous review,” explained the Crown Prosecution Service. “There was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction. In these circumstances, we are under a duty to stop the case. We have explained our decision to all parties.”
Manchester United then concluded its own investigation into Greenwood’s conduct, stating that “the material posted online did not provide a full picture and that Mason did not commit the offences in respect of which he was originally charged”.
However, the player could not “recommence his career” with Manchester United so now Greenwood is on loan to La Liga club Getafe for the 2023 to 2024 season.
Football Manager 2023 is out now for PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Nintendo Switch and mobile platforms.