Football: Released rapist to break silence next week

Football: Released rapist to break silence next week
Wales' striker Ched Evans, right, challenges England's John Terry during a Euro 2012 qualifying match in 2011.

LONDON - Convicted rapist Ched Evans will break his silence next week following his release from prison as debate continues in Britain over whether he should be allowed to resume his football career.

The 25-year-old Wales striker was released from jail on Friday after serving half of a five-year sentence for raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel.

Evans was playing for Sheffield United at the time of his arrest and is said to be keen to resume his career with the Yorkshire club, who play in League One - English football's third tier.

However, in a statement on his website issued following his release from Wymott Prison in Leyland, north-west England, in the early hours of Friday morning, his family said: "Next week Ched will make a very personal and profound statement by video which will be on his site and available for use by the media should they choose to do so.

"Ched is now adjusting to normal life after serving a sentence for a crime consistently denied." His website, which is run by his family and girlfriend, confirmed his release and said they are determined to overturn his conviction.

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

Earlier this week, Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough said the Blades had yet to decide whether to bring Evans back to Bramall Lane.

Thursday saw Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who is a Sheffield MP, urge Blades' chiefs to think hard before re-engaging Evans.

"Rape is an incredibly serious offence, an unbelievably serious offence. He has done his time but I just don't believe that the owners of a football club can somehow wish away the fact that has happened," Clegg told LBC Radio.

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

He denied the offence, although 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.

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