United back Maguire

➤ De­fender set to re­tain the cap­taincy at Old Traf­ford ➤ Eng­land in­ter­na­tional fac­ing re­trial af­ter lodg­ing ap­peal

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Mike McGrath and Tom Mor­gan

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

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