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Evans asks for 'second chance' in career

22 October 2014, 21:32

London - Convicted rapist Ched Evans asked Wednesday for a "second chance" at his football career while at the same time saying he was "determined to continue his fight" to clear his name.

Evans was released on Friday after serving half of his five-year sentence for raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel, with Sheffield United widely criticised for considering the possibility of allowing the 25-year-old to resume his career at his former club.

Many Blades fans have called for Evans to be rehabilitated but almost 150,000 people have signed an online petition urging United, who play in English football's third-tier League One not to welcome him back.

But in a video posted on his own website on Wednesday, Evans again insisted the sex was consensual, adding he had made an "incredibly foolish decision" to cheat on partner Natasha Massey, who has nevertheless stood by Evans and appeared alongside him on the video.

"It is a rare and extraordinary privilege to be permitted to play professional football," said Evans.

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"Now that I have served the custodial part of my sentence of two-and-a-half-years, it is my hope that I will be able to return to football," the 25-year-old Welshman added.

"If that is possible then I will do so with humility, having learnt a very painful lesson.

"I would like a second chance."

Last week Sheffield United denied reports they had offered Evans a new contract, although they left the Yorkshire club left the door open for his return to Bramall Lane by saying they were "continuing to deliberate on any long-term decision about Ched Evans".

Evans, in Wednesday's video, insisted he could be a beneficial presence both on and off the field were he allowed to resume his football career.

"I don't believe I have a given right to play again, but for any club to take me on, I have learnt a valuable lesson.

"I know that over time I can prove myself to be a positive influence, not just on the pitch but also in the community."

Evans was jailed in April 2012 for raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel room in Rhyl, North Wales.

He denied the offence but was found guilty by a jury at Caernarfon Crown Court.

Evans admitted having sex with her but the woman told the jury she had no memory of the incident.

The prosecution said the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was too drunk to consent to sexual intercourse.

An appeal against Evans's conviction was rejected by three judges at the Court of Appeal in 2012.

Massey has led a campaign to have the conviction overturned and Evans' case is due to be reviewed by the Criminal Case Review Commission in the coming weeks.

Evans, a Wales international striker, scored 42 goals in 103 games for Sheffield United, having previously played for Manchester City and Norwich City.

Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, a Sheffield MP, has said United's owners should "think really long and hard" before deciding whether to allow Evans back.



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