United back Maguire
➤ Defender set to retain the captaincy at Old Trafford ➤ England international facing retrial after lodging appeal
Manchester United are standing by their captain, England defender Harry Maguire, after his conviction and 21-month suspended jail sentence for assaulting a Greek police offer and attempted bribery was nullified in the wake of his legal team lodging an appeal against Tuesday’s guilty verdict.
Manchester United have no immediate plans on removing Harry Maguire as their captain, who they consider “innocent until proven guilty” again after lodging an appeal against his conviction for assault and bribery.
Maguire is contesting his suspended prison sentence of 21 months and 10 days for incidents with police on Mykonos island, which means his conviction is nullified and a retrial will be heard.
United have stood by the 27-year-old and it is understood there has been no suggestion of a quick change of captaincy.
“An appeal against Tuesday’s verdict was lodged this morning by Harry’s legal team,” read a statement from United. “In accordance with the Greek judicial process, the filing of an appeal extinguishes the initial court verdict and nullifies the conviction.
“The appeal has been accepted and will lead to a full retrial in a more senior court. This means that Harry has no criminal record and is once again presumed innocent until proven guilty. Accordingly, he is not subject to any international travel restrictions.”
Gareth Southgate has dropped him from the England squad, but United have supported Maguire and have gone as far as questioning the short amount of time his legal team were given to digest evidence for the case.
The club have spoken to Maguire and were told a different version of events to those reported. Maguire’s lawyers told the misdemeanour court, on adjacent Syros island, that Maguire’s sister was harassed and injected by a group of men.
Maguire may have his conviction overturned at retrial if he is willing to apologise to the Greek police officers who he is accused of assaulting, according to IoannisIakovos Paradissis, who represented the officers at this week’s one-day trial Paradissis told The Daily Telegraph that the England international’s apparent lack of contrition was at the heart of his conviction for attacking and verbally abusing four officers.
“His behaviour is exquisitely anti-athletic, not only for the incident, which was a mistake, but until today he persists on that mistake, does not admit it and does not apologise,” Paradissis said. “I don’t want to generalise, but I think this behaviour was insulting both for the police and the country in which they come for vacation.”
Responding to the prosecutor’s comments, Maguire’s younger brother, Laurence, said later that there was “absolute [sic] no chance Harry will be apologising”.
“Daisy and no one in the group was interviewed by the police,” he tweeted in response to a claim that Maguire’s little sister had not mentioned the allegation that she had been injected with a potential date rape drug.
Maguire and Manchester United took “needless” risks in Mykonos by failing to arrange adequate security when the player went out drinking with family and friends, according to a protection firm representing Premier League players.
Alex Bomberg, the chief executive of security firm Intelligent Protection International, said the United captain’s arrest and subsequent conviction was “entirely avoidable” if clubs listened to his repeated warnings about footballers being sitting ducks while in public.
“Any close protection officer worth his salt would have defused any potential situation and guided his or her client to safety,” Bomberg told The Daily Telegraph.
“The fact is that high-profile players and young highnet-worth individuals are putting themselves and their families needlessly in this position.
“Football clubs have a duty of care to the players, because on a night out they are very likely to be recognised and targeted.”
Backing: A United statement said an appeal had been lodged against Harry Maguire’s conviction