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Rapist Evans can't train with United

Sheffield United have withdrawn their offer to former player and convicted rapist Ched Evans to use their facilities for training purposes.

"We recognise that a number of our supporters will be disappointed with this decision, but would ask that they remember the responsibilities we have not only to a fine and proud club, whose history stretches back over 125 years, but also to the communities in which Sheffield United is active and to the city we represent," the club said.

Its decision to allow Evans the opportunity to train had sparked controversy.

The 25-year-old (inset) was released last month after serving half of a five-year jail sentence following his conviction for raping a 19-year-old woman in Wales. He has always maintained his innocence despite being found guilty.

The statement said the board had consulted supporters, Community Foundation members, executives, staff, sponsors and other stakeholders in order to reach its decision.

"The club condemns rape and violence of any kind against women," it said.

"The club is aware that Ched Evans is pursuing legal recourse via the Criminal Cases Review Commission in the determination he has to clear his name. We trust that he will be afforded a fair hearing."