Wales

Rapist Ched Evans issues video statement

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Media captionChed Evans, with his girlfriend Tasha alongside, released a video

Footballer Ched Evans has released a video statement in which he says he is "determined to continue the fight" to clear his name.

The Wales international, 25, was released from prison on Friday after serving half a five-year sentence for raping a woman in a hotel room.

The former Sheffield United star also said he wants to return to playing football.

He has so far declined any request to be interviewed by the BBC.

However, in the statement on his personal website, he said: "I made an incredibly foolish decision and failed those people who trusted and believed in me, most of all Tasha and our families.

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

'Second chance'

"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.

"If that is possible then I will do so with humility having learnt a very painful lesson. I would like second chance but I know not everyone would agree."

Evans was found guilty of rape and jailed for five years for raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel near Rhyl, Denbighshire in May 2011.

In his video statement Evans claims the sex was "consensual in nature and not rape" and does not offer any apology to his victim.

There has been controversy about whether Evans should resume his career in football.

Almost 150,000 people have signed a petition urging Sheffield United not to take the Wales international back.

The Professional Footballers' Association said he should be allowed to play again after serving his sentence.

United manager Nigel Clough said he had held talks with club officials about the possibility of Evans returning.

The League One club signed the player for £3m in 2009, but released him the month after he was convicted of rape.

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