Oldham Athletic board to hold Ched Evans meeting

UK Labour party leader Ed Miliband says he wouldn’t take Evans on for lack of remorse

Oldham Athletic board members are to hold a meeting after the club has come under fire for the potential signing of Ched Evans (Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA Wire)

Oldham Athletic board members are to hold a meeting after the club has come under fire for the potential signing of Ched Evans (Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA Wire)

 

Oldham Athletic’s board are to hold a conference call between themselves on Monday to discuss their strategy regarding the convicted rapist Ched Evans.

Two of the directors are in America, including the chairman, Simon Corney, who is in New York, so the board is unable to meet in person. But it is expected a statement will be issued later on Monday to try and clarify Oldham’s position, with Corney and his fellow directors taken aback by the reaction to their interest in signing the Welshman.

The Labour leader Ed Miliband, who is on the campaign trail, has joined the fray, telling BBC Radio Manchester: “He hasn’t shown remorse and I wouldn’t take him on.”

Evans had been due to train at Oldham on Monday but this now appears unlikely and his prospects of joining the League One club are in the balance.

The sponsor of Oldham’s main stand, Verlin Rainwater Solutions, announced on Monday that it will end its association with the club if Evans signs.

Craig Verling, a director of the company, said: “The club know our stance and that is if they sign or allow Ched Evans to train we will be out of the door.

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“We had a conversation with the club when they considered allowing Ched Evans to train with them six to eight weeks ago, and we were led to believe they had listened to the general input.

“But our sources have made it clear he will be training or signing for the club this week and it is not something we wish to be associated with.”

Meanwhile, an online petition protesting started on Sunday against the 26-year-old finding a route back into football via Oldham after serving half of a five-year sentence for the rape of a 19-year-old woman in 2011 had reached 22,500 by early Monday morning.

It stated: “Currently Oldham is said to be considering signing him. This is a damaging message about rape and sexual consent to be giving to your fans. Please think again.”

Despite this public outcry it is thought that Mike Ashley, the owner of Sports Direct, which is Oldham’s main sponsor, would not pull his backing out of the club should Evans sign.

The Latics are no strangers to controversy, having in 2007 signed Lee Hughes, the former West Brom striker who had recently been released from prison after causing death by dangerous driving.

Evans left prison in October last year after serving half of a five-year sentence for raping a 19-year-old woman in a Rhyl hotel room in May 2011. The 26-year-old has consistently maintained his innocence in the wake of the guilty verdict, with an investigation into his conviction ongoing by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Should Oldham allow Evans to train at the club or offer him a short-term contract it would represent a significant shift in their stance. In December the Lancashire side were linked with Evans but released a statement that read: “Oldham Athletic are aware of various newspaper reports linking the club to Ched Evans. The board of directors would like to confirm that we will not be extending an invitation for Ched Evans to train with Oldham Athletic nor will we be offering him a contract.”

(Guardian Service)

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