PM’s view on rape footballer Evans


Published: Tuesday 6th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Prime Minister David Cameron expects that any football club considering hiring convicted rapist Ched Evans will “weigh their decisions very carefully”, Downing Street has said.

Evans’s future hangs in the balance, with Oldham Athletic holding back from a decision on whether to sign the 26-year-old player after a mooted deal sparked protests.

The League One club’s chief executive Neil Joy said there will be no announcement for the time being, but did not rule out taking the former Sheffield United star on to Oldham’s books.

Greater Manchester police and crime commissioner Tony Lloyd has urged the side not to sign Evans, saying he had shown a “lack of remorse” and should not be presenting himself as a role model to young people.

Asked at a regular Westminster news briefing whether Mr Cameron thought Evans should be given a new footballing contract, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman told reporters: “His view hasn’t changed (from) … the time when there were reports around Sheffield United.

“Ultimately, it is for employers to take decisions, but the Prime Minister does think that footballers are role models and he is sure that any potential would-be clubs and employers will weigh their decisions very carefully.”

Evans, who previously played for Manchester City, was jailed in April 2012 for raping a woman in Rhyl, North Wales. He was released from prison in October after serving half of the five-year sentence and continues to protest his innocence.

Following his release from prison, he was offered the use of Sheffield United’s training facilities, but the club decided not to re-sign him following criticism from supporters and club patrons.

Speaking at Oldham’s Boundary Park ground, Mr Joy said: “Oldham Athletic is not at this stage making any official announcement with regard to the speculation concerning Ched Evans.

“Whilst acknowledging the considerable media attention, we continue to have conversations with representative bodies such as the PFA and will conduct due diligence with regard to any decision we make on this matter.”

Jim McMahon, leader of Oldham Council, said: “Oldham Council supports and enjoys a strong partnership relationship with Oldham Athletic, and I’ve personally worked hard with the club owners to help secure the redevelopment of Boundary Park because of the club’s importance to the town.

“My view – if I were in the club’s position – is that playing for a professional club puts you in the public eye and that carries important responsibilities. As things stand, I don’t believe that Mr Evans would be a suitable role model and ambassador for the town, or for the long-term reputation of the club.”

Published: Tuesday 6th January 2015 by The News Editor

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