Caborn: PFA sparked Evans row

p9704Sport-6-1

Published: Sunday 23rd November 2014 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Former sports minister Richard Caborn believes the Professional Footballers’ Association must take some responsibility for the controversy surrounding Ched Evans’ return to training with Sheffield United.

The Wales striker was initially offered the chance to link up with his former club following his release from prison, having served half of a five-year sentence for rape.

The club withdrew from the agreement after a backlash from fans, with several club patrons standing down from their roles while Olympian Jessica Ennis-Hill warned that she wanted her name removed from a stand at Bramall Lane should United re-sign Evans.

United co-chairman Jim Phipps blamed “the influence of mob-like behaviour” for the u-turn but Caborn – himself a Blades fan – believes it should never have reached that stage.

He told BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek programme: “Ched Evans is a convicted rapist. There’s no argument about that.

“In my view there are only two ways he can come back into professional football.

“One way is that he’s got his case before the Criminal Cases Review Commission – they’ve said that they will deal with that in months not years, so I think most people are waiting to see the outcome of that.

“Or the second way is to actually apologise for what is a very serious crime, and also show remorse and act on that remorse. I think they’re the only two ways he can come back into professional football.

“It is difficult for Ched Evans at the moment because he has got his case before the Criminal Cases Review Commission and most people – including Sheffield United – I think were waiting for the outcome of that.

“It was the PFA, the trade union for players, that asked Sheffield United, as Ched’s last employer, if they would let him come back and use the facilities to train. It was in acceding to that request that everything came tumbling down.

“Had they actually held to their original position, that they weren’t going to make a decision until the facts were known – I think that was a credible position to be in.

“The PFA asked them to offer these facilities and they accepted that. It was the PFA that actually initiated the coaching part of it, not Sheffield United.”

Nobody from the PFA was immediately available for comment, though a statement released by the organisation on Friday set out their position regarding the breakdown of Evans’ return to the Blades.

The statement read: “We fully understand and respect the opposing views to Ched’s return to Sheffield United and clearly part of the issue related to him returning to the club he was previously with at the time of his imprisonment.

“With that in mind, it may ultimately be of benefit to both parties to move on and for Ched to look for a fresh start at a different club.

“We maintain our general position that the courts determine punishments and a return to society and a contribution to the community through employment is a key element of rehabilitation.

“We do not agree that society should impose different rules for footballers which go beyond the position of the law. In that regard, it is hoped that Ched will be given an opportunity at another club to return to the job he is trained to do.”

Published: Sunday 23rd November 2014 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Local business search