Gordon Taylor: PFA chief executive apologises after comparing Ched Evans appeal case to the Hillsborough disaster justice campaign

Taylor said that if Evans' appeal found him innocent of the rape conviction he received in 2012, it would not be the first time a wrong decision was made

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor
PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor

Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor has apologised for appearing to compare Ched Evans' attempt to clear his name with the Hillsborough disaster.

Taylor made the comments in a radio interview after it emerged that Evans' proposed move to Oldham had collapsed amid threats to club staff and their families.

"If people feel that way (offended) about what I said, I can only apologise."

Evans, now 26, was jailed in April 2012 for raping a 19-year-old woman. He maintains the sex in a Rhyl hotel was consensual and protests his innocence. He was released from prison in October, after serving half of a five-year sentence.

Evans' move to Oldham fell through on Thursday

Evans' appeal against the conviction was rejected by three judges at the Court of Appeal in 2012 and the case is currently being considered by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Taylor mentioned Evans' situation alongside events that followed the Hillsborough tragedy, which resulted in the deaths of 96 Liverpool supporters at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest in Sheffield.

After years of fighting by the families of those who died, new inquests into the deaths began last year and are continuing in Warrington.

Speaking about Evans' case on Thursday, Taylor had told BBC Radio 5 Live: "He would not be the first person or persons to have been found guilty and maintained their innocence and then been proved right.

"If we are talking about things in football, we know what happened, what was alleged to have happened at Hillsborough. And it's now unravelling and we are finding it was very different to how it was portrayed at the time - indeed by the police at the time.

"He's in a very difficult situation because he's been put through a wringer and the minute you show any sympathy for Ched everybody will say 'Well, what about the other parties concerned?'

"And that's why I'm making the point that nobody's forgetting them."

Taylor added: "Obviously it's not a good time for him - he needs support like everybody in this particular incident needs support, not least the woman concerned."

Taylor's comment have provoked anger from supporters of the Justice for the 96 campaign

His comments provoked immediate condemnation on social media, with Liverpool fans leading calls for him to resign.

Paul LFC Foreman posted: "Expect nothing more than a P45 for #GordonTaylor in the morn from PFA absolutely disgusting comments not even comparable #JFT96."

Liverpool-based singer Pete Wylie said: "PFA LFC should withdraw the players from all activity-including playing-until Gordon Taylor apologises AND resigns+takes Evans too #JFT96."

Nicola #JFT96 said: "#GordonTaylor#JFT96 have been fighting for 26yrs for Justice ... Ched Evans convicted in a criminal Court for Rape after 2 appeals! #Resign."

And Bex Knight tweeted: "Not sure what to make of this ... words fail me."

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in