One of the most controversial moves in recent football history is set to take place as League One club Oldham Athletic agree a contract with convicted rapist Ched Evans. According to BBC Sport the deal is set to be announced.
Oldham Athletic’s sponsor, Verlin Rainwater Solutions, have ended their association with the club as they were told to prepare for the “imminent signing” on Thursday or Friday this week. The decision follows weeks of pressure on teams not to allow Evans to play football again because of his conviction and a petition urging Oldham Athletic not to continue with their plans has gained over 60,000 signatures.
Ched Evans was born in North Wales and after short spells with Rhyl and Chester City he joined the Manchester City youth academy. After graduating their youth system, Evans played 16 Premier League games for the Citizens, scoring once. Evans also had a short loan at Norwich City before transferring to Sheffield United in July 2009 for £3m. Evans shone at Championship and League One level for the Blades, netting 42 times in 103 league matches.
In May 2011 Ched Evans and his teammate Clayton MacDonald were accused of the rape of a 19-year-old girl. Evans was convicted of the crime in April 2012 and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. Evans was released in October 2014 and released a statement where he spoke of his desire to find a new club in the near feature.
Sheffield United were thought to be signing the 13 time Welsh international but after a long saga with sponsor threatening to pull out, the club retracted the offer of training facilities to the 26-year-old. Hartlepool United and a Maltese club have also admitted interest in the player but now it seems Oldham Athletic are prepared to take a risk on the striker despite the controversy.