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PFA chief compares Ched Evans case to Hillsborough

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor. Credit: Phil Noble/PA Wire.

The head of the Professional Footballers' Association, Gordon Taylor, has sparked fresh controversy in the Ched Evans case by comparing the footballer's situation with the families of those who died at Hillsborough.

"He would not be the first person or persons to have been found guilty and maintained their innocence and then been proved right," Mr Taylor said.

"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."

Former footballer Ched Evans issues apology

Convicted rapist and former Sheffield United footballer Ched Evans has apologised for the very first time - not for raping a 19 year old woman in a hotel room in North Wales - but for the effects that night has had on many people, including the teenager who was attacked.

He maintains his innocence and is still fighting to clear his name. This afternoon Oldham Athletic scrapped a deal to sign him saying fans, sponsors and staff had received death threats.

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Prime Minister wades into Ched Evans row

David Cameron has said he would have some "real concerns" about taking his children to watch a football match if a convicted rapist was playing.

The Prime Minister made the remarks during an interview with ITV News in Manchester, after being asked about Oldham's decision to pull Ched Evans' deal. It collapsed following threats to fans, staff and sponsors.

Mr Cameron also suggested Mr Evans should "show some sense of atonement", but added that it was up to him to decide how.

Ched Evans statement

It is with great sadness that today I have withdrawn from talks with Oldham Athletic. I would like to thank the Club, and those who have supported me in my lawful quest to find work. I apologise to the clubs supporters, sponsors and all those effected by the last 72 hours.

Sadly the ‘mob rule’ tactics employed by the more radical elements of our society and the constant media reporting has had the desired influence on some sponsors and the club would face significant financial pressure if I joined them. The most significant issue for me was that owing to the threat of funding opportunities being withdrawn which may jeopardise the building of Oldhams new stand it would mean that workers would lose their jobs and others would be put at risk - that would simply not be fair.

  1. Granada

Cameron - Ched Evans should 'do voluntary work' to demonstrate his sorrow

David Cameron, the Prime Minister. Credit: Press Association.

Prime Minister David Cameron suggested Evans should consider voluntary work to demonstrate to the public that he was "really sorry about what happened and you want to atone for what you have done".

"My view is it is not for politicians to pick football teams, it should be for football clubs to pick their teams.

"But as they do that, they have to recognise that football players are role models for young people and they have to think about what will the impact be on the club, what will the impact be on young people.

"I would rather clubs demonstrated that responsibility and took the decisions themselves rather than feeling anyone has to step in.

"As for people in this position, surely the position is to recognise when you have done something wrong and you have been punished, rightly punished, you have to work your way back - that might mean doing more voluntary work, putting more back in, in order to demonstrate to the public, the country, the football-loving country we are, that you are really sorry about what happened and you want to atone for what you have done."

– Prime Minister David Cameron

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PFA statement on Evans' search for club

The PFA has issued a statement to clarify its position in supporting Evans' search to find a club.

It said:

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.

– PFA statement
  1. Wales

Evans apologises for 'effects that night has had on many'

Ched Evans has issued an apology via the Professional Footballers' Association "for the effects that night in Rhyl has had on many people, not least the woman concerned" - but maintains his innocence in relation to his conviction for rape.

Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

I am grateful for the support of the PFA in helping me try to return to football and continue my career.

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.

– Ched Evans statement, via PFA
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