England Under-21s match with Norway moved from Chesterfield to Colchester because of Ched Evans signing

Evans served two-and-a-half years for rape but his conviction was quashed in April

Samuel Stevens
Saturday 15 October 2016 10:33 BST
Ched Evans with his girlfriend Natasha Massey who stood by after his conviction
Ched Evans with his girlfriend Natasha Massey who stood by after his conviction (PA)

England Under-21s have moved their European Championship qualifier against Norway tonight away from Chesterfield after the League One club signed Ched Evans this summer.

The 27-year-old served two-and-a-half years of a five-year sentence for rape but his conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal in April and he is now facing a retrial in Cardiff next month.

The Independent can confirm reports that the proximity of the retrial date with tonight’s fixture led to the decision to switch the 5.45pm kick-off to the Weston Homes Community Stadium in Colchester, rather than Chesterfield’s Proact Stadium.

Despite the successful appeal against his previous conviction, Evans remains a controversial figure and the striker had previously failed with several attempts to secure a contract with clubs including Oldham Athletic and Hartlepool United.

Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill threatened to cut ties with Sheffield United, Evan’s former club, in 2014 if they elected to re-sign the ex-Wales international. Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister and MP for Sheffield Hallam at the time, also warned of potential ramifications.

Evans has scored four goals in six matches for Chesterfield since the joining the Spireites in June. HTM Products, one of the Derbyshire club’s sponsors for six years, has since withdrawn its support citing “recent events” as their reasoning.

The Daily Mirror reported on Monday evening that the FA were “sensitive” to any criticism which may have come their way by deciding to play an international fixture at a stadium which is associated with such a high-profile and contentious figure.

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