Ched Evans: Sheffield United withdraw offer to allow convicted rapist to train with League One club

League One club bow to overwhelming pressure

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Sheffield United have bowed to overwhelming pressure and withdrawn their offer to allow convicted rapist Ched Evans to train with the club.

The announcement that the former player would be allowed to use the League One club’s training facilities provoked a huge public outcry, with several well-known celebrities, including singer Paul Heaton, standing down as club patrons and Sheffield-born Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill saying she would want her name removed from a stand at Bramall Lane if United allowed Evans to return.

The club have issued a statement, which read: “Sheffield United Football Club has decided to retract the opportunity for its former player, Ched Evans, to use the club’s facilities for training purposes, as was previously intended.

“The club initially accepted a request from the Professional Footballers’ Association for Ched Evans to be able to train. The reaction to this has been at an intensity that could not have been anticipated when first announced.

“As noted in previous statements from the club, the legal system of this country provides for both the punishment and the rehabilitation of every person who has been found guilty of a crime.

“We recognise that a number of our supporters will be disappointed with this decision, but would ask that they remember the responsibilities we have not only to a fine and proud club, whose history stretches back over 125 years, but also to the communities in which Sheffield United is active and to the city we represent.

“The club condemns rape and violence of any kind against women in the strongest possible terms.”

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