ANTONY has issued a full statement as he confirmed he will not be returning to train with Manchester United.
The £85million winger has been given a leave of absence by the club as he faces allegations of domestic abuse from three women.
United confirmed today that Antony will not be returning to train with the squad "until further notice".
His ex Gabriela Cavallin led calls for the £85million player to be dropped from the squad in an exclusive interview today with The Sun on Sunday.
Antony strongly denies all allegations against him.
In a statement released on his Instagram, Antony said: "I have agreed with Manchester United to take a period of absence while I address the allegations made against me.
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“This was a mutual decision to avoid distraction to my teammates and unnecessary controversy for the club.
“I want to reiterate my innocence of the things I have been accused of, and I will fully cooperate with the police to help them reach the truth.
“I look forward to returning to play as soon as possible.”
Sources insist he has not been suspended and will remain on full pay during his time away from Old Trafford.
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They believe the move reflects how seriously the club are taking the allegations and they will continue to review the situation.
He is currently being investigated by police in both Manchester and Sao Paolo – and was axed from the Brazil national team for their World Cup qualifiers this month.
United’s players who were not involved in the internationals were due to return to Carrington on Monday.
Gabriella, a model and DJ, today urged Old Trafford bosses to ban Antony from playing while police investigate claims he assaulted her.
She told The Sun on Sunday: “Antony needs to be taken off the pitch.
"It’s disappointing he’s still allowed to play while there’s an investigation.
“I am absolutely destroyed by the whole process. How can life go on as normal for him?
"They can’t just know what they know now and not do anything. He needs to be removed.”
Gabriela, 22, demanded to know why United bosses waited three months to respond to the abuse allegations.
It has been reported in Brazil that Gabriela has told police that £150,000-a-week Antony assaulted her four times.
In tears, Gabriela told us: “Why did it take United three months?
“It’s just not OK. I prefer not to believe such a huge club, with such serious and professional people, would cover up a situation like this.”
Two more women have made similar claims against the winger.
Law student Rayssa de Freitas said she needed hospital treatment following an incident in May last year after she was allegedly attacked by Antony and a woman in his Land Rover after they left a Sao Paulo nightclub.
Ingrid Lana, a 33-year-old banker, has alleged in an interview in Brazil that Antony was sexually aggressive towards her while on a business trip to England in October.
Antony denies all these claims.
Leading charity Women's Aid – which supports victims of domestic abuse – welcomed the decision by Utd.
"At Women’s Aid we welcome the decision that following serious allegations of domestic abuse and violence against women, Antony will not be returning to training or games for [Manchester United] until further notice, as this situation is addressed," they said.
"Safeguarding must always be the priority."
In a statement, Man Utd said: "Manchester United acknowledges the allegations made against Antony.
"Players who have not participated in international matches are due back in training on Monday.
"However, it has been agreed with Antony that he will delay his return until further notice in order to address the allegations.
"As a club we condemn acts of violence and abuse.
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"We recognise the importance of safeguarding all those involved in this situation, and acknowledge the impact these allegations have on survivors of abuse.”
How you can get help
Women’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:
- Always keep your phone nearby.
- Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
- If you are in danger, call 999.
- Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
- Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
- If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
- Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – [email protected].
Women’s Aid provides a live chat service – available weekdays from 8am-6pm and weekends 10am-6pm.
You can also call the freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
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