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Oldham Expected to Announce Signing of Ched Evans

Thu 8th Jan 2015 | Legal

Oldham Athletic are expected to announce the signing of Ched Evans despite news of club sponsor, Verlin Rainwater Solutions withdrawing its support of the club.

Discussions between the League One club’s board and the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) have been ongoing and a decision is expected sometime today (Thursday).

Evans, convicted of rape in April 2012 and sentenced to 5 years in prison, has been searching for a club since his early release in October 2014.

Despite various clubs being linked with the striker, none have taken up the option to sign him after facing vociferous opposition from fans and sponsors.

Verlin Rainwater Solutions director, Craig Verlin, said in a statement: “After receiving the news regarding the imminent signing of Ched Evans it is with great regret that Verlin Rainwater Solutions will no longer be associated with Oldham Athletic.

“We would like to take this opportunity to make clear that we feel that Mr Evans should be able to lead a life without further punishment after serving his sentence, although our feelings remain the same that this should not be within the public domain where his previous behaviour may influence the next generation.

“We sincerely wish the club a very successful future and have no regrets about being associated with Oldham Athletic over the past few seasons, but feel our continued support would be sending out the wrong message.”

Shadow Sports Minister Clive Efford said that the Football Association (The FA) should ‘step in and take action’. Speaking on Talksport on Wednesday evening, Efford said he was surprised at the FA’s silence on the matter and that they should have stepped in earlier.

“I really do think, as much as I admire Greg Dyke, the FA have been completely silent on this,” he said.

“They should have been stepping in to take some action, to say ‘rape is beyond the pale and we are not going to allow anyone who has been convicted of this crime to play football.’

“This is such a serious crime and there are all sorts of issues, from the impressionable young boys who will watch the player, to the inclusion of young women in the game, and I think this decision sends out a really poor message about football.

“It’s not good enough that big issues like this are determined by directors of football clubs rather than the governing body.

“Directors of football clubs have other pressures on them which impact their decision, such as the financial pressures on the club and the need to stay in their division.

“But those factors really shouldn’t come into this, they’re not in the wider interests of football and there is a moral issue here that needs to be considered, and that’s where the governing body should step in.”

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