Crown Prosecution Service drops attempted rape charges against Manchester United's Mason Greenwood

    Mason Greenwood looks on during Manchester United's game against Leeds United in the Premier League at Old Trafford, Manchester on August 14, 2021.

    (CNN)Charges of attempted rape and assault against Manchester United footballer Mason Greenwood were dropped on Thursday due to the withdrawal of key witnesses, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced. A charge of controlling and coercive behavior was also dropped, according to the CPS.

    A spokesperson in the CPS statement said, "In this case a combination of the withdrawal of key witnesses and new material that came to light meant 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.
    "We would always encourage any potential victims to come forward and report to police and we will prosecute wherever our legal test is met."
      CNN reached out to Greenwood's legal representation for comment but did not immediately hear back. According to The Guardian, Greenwood denied the charges of attempted rape.
        A Manchester United statement released Thursday said, "Manchester United notes the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service that all charges against Mason Greenwood have been dropped.
        "The club will now conduct its own process before determining next steps. We will not make any further comment until that process is complete."
        Chief Superintendent Michaela Kerr, Greater Manchester Police's (GMP) head of public protection, said in a statement the decision to drop charges was not "taken lightly" and reiterated "GMP's commitment to investigating allegations of violence against women and girls."