Rapist Ched Evans ‘will not be offered a contract by Sheffield United after club chiefs were shocked by public reaction to “toxic” former striker’
- The footballer was due to begin training with former teammates this week
- But club executives are now set to block his return, revealed a source
- They branded him ‘toxic’ after huge backlash from high-profile supporters
- Jessica Ennis-Hill said she would want her name removed from stand in her honour if Evans was re-signed
- Three patrons of the club have already resigned, including Charlie Webster
Convicted rapist Ched Evans will reportedly not be offered a contract with Sheffield United – following claims club bosses are shocked at the public reaction to the striker’s return to football.
The 25-year-old returned to training with the club this week after he was released from jail last month, having served half his five-year rape sentence.
But after a huge backlash from a series of high-profile supporters, including Jessica Ennis-Hill and presenter Charlie Webster, the Yorkshire club’s executives now appear to be distancing themselves from moves to offer the Welsh international a new contract.
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Ched Evans, pictured this week, will not return to Sheffield United after club bosses branded him ‘toxic’
The family of Natasha Massey, fiancee to Ched Evans, have helped fund a website protesting his innocence
A source told the Sun that club executives will back the decision tomorrow to block Evans from joining his former team-mates on the pitch.
‘The club wanted Ched to play for them and expected to get some grief because of that.
‘But they have been blown off course by the strength of feeling of the general public and people and companies connected to the club.’
The source added: ‘They feel Ched has become toxic now.’
Sheffield United was already facing a huge backlash from high-profile supporters, MPs, sponsors and rape charities.
TV presenter Charlie Webster, 32, stepped down as a patron of the club on Tuesday.
Speaking on BBC Newsnight, the women’s rights campaigner said: ‘At no point have Sheffield United acknowledged the extremity of his crime.
‘Nobody is making a decision (at the club) and I suppose I feel I need to make a decision as a patron of Sheffield United.’
Jessica Ennis-Hill, 27, has received threats to rape her on Twitter after she said she wanted her name removed from a stand at Sheffield United if Ched Evans, who was convicted of rape, is re-signed by the club
A stand at the stadium in Bramall Lane could have to be re-named if Ched Evans returns to the club to play
Most recently, Ennis-Hill declared she would want her name removed from a stand at the stadium in Bramall Lane if Evans was given a contract.
In a statement, she explained: ‘I believe being a role model to young people is a huge honour and those in positions of influence in communities should respect the role they play in young people’s lives and set a good example.
‘If Evans was to be re-signed by the club it would completely contradict these beliefs.’
And last night, South Yorkshire police said they are investigating after threats of rape were made to the Olympic champion.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the MP for Sheffield Hallam, condemned the threats, tweeting: ‘Rape threats against @J-Ennis are sick and vile. This is totally out of order.’
TV presenter Charlie Webster, left , has resigned from her role as Sheffield United patron, followed by Lindsay Graham, right, after the club decided to allow convicted rapist Ched Evans to train
The attack on Ennis-Hill came after FA chairman Greg Dyke said the row over whether Evans should play football again was ‘not an important issue’.
Mr Dyke, 67, appeared on BBC’s Newsnight on Thursday to discuss a report alleging corruption over England’s World Cup bid.
But when asked about Evans, Mr Dyke said: ‘It’s a dilemma and it’s not clear cut.’
Asked where he stood, Mr Dyke blustered: ‘It’s not an important issue … err … is an important issue but not in terms of what we, we’re here, and what you asked me to come on and talk about.’
Evans was released from jail after serving two and a half years of a five-year sentence for raping a teenager at a hotel in 2011.
An appeal against his conviction was rejected by three judges at the Court of Appeal in 2012, but his case is due to be looked at by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
MailOnline has contacted Sheffield United for comment.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2835884/Rapist-Ched-Evans-not-offered-contract-Sheffield-United-club-chiefs-shocked-public-reaction-toxic-former-striker.html#ixzz3JERlRd2c
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