Singer resigns from Blades role


Published: Monday 17th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Former Housemartins and Beautiful South frontman Paul Heaton has resigned as a patron of Sheffield United’s Community Foundation over the club’s decision to allow convicted rapist Ched Evans back to training.

The singer, who said he made the decision with “great regret”, said the club needed “to lift its reputation out of the gutter”.

TV presenter Charlie Webster, sixties pop star Dave Berry and Sheffield businesswoman Lindsay Graham have all resigned as patrons of the club since Evans returned to training.

Olympic athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill asked for her name to removed from a stand at the club’s Bramall Lane ground if Evans returns full-time.

Heaton said: “I would firstly like to salute the bravery of my fellow Blades and patrons in resigning their positions and in particular Charlie Webster, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Lindsay Graham, in standing up for victims of rape everywhere.

“I firmly believe that Ched Evans has the right to rebuild his career in football but rebuilding a career should not involve walking straight out of prison and into the shirt of the club he so badly let down.

“I believe he needs to move away and move on, and the club itself needs to lift its reputation out of the gutter.”

Heaton said he would donate his fee from this month’s Sheffield City Hall gig to the city’s rape crisis centre.

Campaigners against sexual violence have criticised the club’s decision to allow Evans, 25, to train with the team.

Wales international Evans was jailed in April 2012 for raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel room in Rhyl, North Wales.

The striker denied raping the woman, saying the sex was consensual, but he was found guilty by a jury at Caernarfon Crown Court.

He was released from prison last month after serving half of the five-year sentence.

An appeal against his conviction was rejected by three judges at the Court of Appeal in 2012. His case is due to be looked at by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

After his release, Evans put a video on his website protesting his innocence and vowing to clear his name.

Published: Monday 17th November 2014 by The News Editor

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