Ched Evans has apologised to "the woman concerned" after the backlash against the convicted rapist led to his proposed move to Oldham collapsing today.
The League One side had looked set to confirm a deal today after the club's New York-based owner, Simon Corney, revealed last night that there was an 80 per cent chance the former Sheffield United player would do so.
However, a statement from the Professional Footballers' Association has been released explaining the collapse of the deal and with it carrying comments from Evans himself. In them he apologises to the woman at the centre of his rape conviction as well as condemning those who have abused the victim on social media.
“I am grateful for the support of the PFA in helping me try to return to football and continue my career," said the 26-year-old.
"Upon legal advice, I was told not to discuss the events in question. This silence has been misinterpreted as arrogance and I would like to state that this could not be further from the truth.
"I do remain limited at present by what I can say due to the ongoing referral to the Criminal Cases Review Commission and whilst I continue to maintain my innocence, I wish to make it clear that I wholeheartedly apologise for the effects that night in Rhyl has had on many people, not least the woman concerned.
"Finally, it has been claimed that those using social media in an abusive and vindictive way towards this woman are supporters of mine. I wish to make it clear that these people are not my supporters and I condemn their actions entirely and will continue to do so.”
The rest of the statement from the PFA reads: "Our previous statements are set out below and our support for Ched remains the same.
"We have had some discussions with Oldham Athletic regarding the interest they expressed in signing Ched, although we feel it is important to make clear that, contrary to what has been reported, we were not ‘driving’ any deal. As we understand it, the club and player were in discussions and contact was then made with the PFA as matters progressed given the particular circumstances of this situation and we were simply being asked to publicly reiterate our support for the club in signing him. Despite being ready to offer this from the outset, we were asked to delay whilst discussions between the club and player continued, and we were disappointed to see over the course of this week, comments being made which we feel mischaracterise our limited role in this matter.
"The PFA's position remains the same, as we have expressed previously, that any club which decides to sign him would receive our support.
"We fully recognise that this is a delicate and emotive case and entirely respect that there are opposing views. However, we always felt it was important that Ched made some further comment regarding his current situation and on that basis, he has asked that we include his comments."
Oldham are yet to issue a statement themselves explaining the decision, but BBC sports editor Dan Roan claims an Oldham board member has said it was due to "enormous pressure from sponsors and threats to staff and their families."Reuse content