Oldham Athletic have withdrew their bid for convicted rapist Ched Evans after the club allegedly found themselves being threatened by those who opposed their initial decision.
The 26-year-old striker was set to join Oldham after being released from prison following a rape conviction in April 2012, though the club’s board has now revealed that they no longer have any intentions of signing the player following the huge backlash they had received.
A club director informed BBC Sport that a member of Oldham’s staff was told that one of their relatives “would be raped” if the deal went ahead. The director also stated that they had received “enormous pressure from sponsors” to cancel the move which, if we’re to be cynical, is likely the true reason why the prospective deal was axed. Oldham’s owner had previously stated that he intended to sign the player “on principle,” with the wealthy family of Evans’ fiancée – and this is really messed up – offering to pay for his wages if sponsors pulled out due to the deal.
A petition designed to force Oldham to not sign Evan was signed by 60,000 people, though it also had some vocal opposition from the likes of QPR manager Harry Redknapp, who said: “Once you’ve done your time you’ve done your time, and somewhere along the line you’ve got to come out and make a go of your life. So it’s a very difficult situation at the moment with the lad who is a footballer and wants to play football.
He added: “He can’t just not be allowed to carry on with his life.”
Though the argument over whether Ched Evans should be allowed to return to a lucrative career in the sport will rage on, for the time being it looks like he will remain unemployed.
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