Footballer Evans released after serving half sentence for rape

Former Sheffield United and Wales striker Ched Evans was released from prison on Friday after serving half of a five-year sentence for rape.

The 25-year-old, who has also played for Manchester City, was convicted in 2012 of raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel room.

Evans, who left Wymott Prison near Leyland in north-west England at about 4am GMT, has promised to make a “very personal and profound” statement on his website next week. The website also said that on July 15, Evans’s new legal team had submitted an application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which is the first step to a second appeal.

“Ched is now adjusting to normal life after serving a sentence for a crime consistently denied,” a statement on his website read.

“Ched would like to thank prior to the video statement, the thousands of people from all walks of life who have supported him and believe in him.”

Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough has discussed the possibility of Evans making a comeback with the third tier club but more than 145 000 people have signed a petition against his possible return for the Blades.

Can’t wish away his crime
On Thursday, Britain’s deputy prime minister and Sheffield MP Nick Clegg urged the club to “think really long and hard” before deciding whether to allow Evans to play for them again. 

Clegg, speaking to LBC Radio the day before Evans was due to be released from prison on Friday, said: “He has done his time but I just don’t believe that the owners of a football club can somehow wish away the fact that that has happened.

“That is what he will be known for, and that is something which, particularly for the youngsters following that team, they will always be aware of.”

Clough said the club will have yet to decide what to do but that any decision would be made “above football level”.

“We have had one or two discussions, we are awaiting a decision and the owners will make that in good time,” Clough said at his pre-match news conference before their match at Bradford City on Saturday.

He continued: “I have been involved in decisions, but it is very much a decision for the owners and when the time is right to say something as a club we will do that. It is that sort of decision – it’s above football level.”

“It’s my decision whether to put him in the team if he comes back, it’s not my decision whether he comes back in the first place – that’s theirs. Until the decision is made there is no point talking about it.” – Reuters

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Michael Hann
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