Ched Evans: Hartlepool rule out signing convicted rapist

Ched Evans
Ched Evans, 25, was released in October after serving half of a five-year sentence for the rape of a 19-year-old woman

Hartlepool have ruled out signing convicted rapist Ched Evans.

The 25-year-old was released in October after serving half of a five-year sentence for the rape of a 19-year-old woman in a hotel room in 2011.

Hartlepool manager Ronnie Moore had said he was considering signing the former Sheffield United striker.

But in a statement the club said they "do not intend signing Ched Evans" despite "his obvious ability as a football player".

Evans, who has played 13 times for Wales, maintains his innocence and has asked the Criminal Cases Review Commission to review his case.

Moore took charge of the Football League's bottom club on Tuesday.

Speaking after Saturday's 1-1 home draw with Oxford, he said of Evans: "He is a proven scorer. He's served his time and the boy wants to play football. If it could happen, I'd want it to."

Hartlepool have since announced Moore was responding "hypothetically" to an "unsubstantiated internet rumour".

In November, Sheffield United retracted an offer to allow Evans to train with them following strong local opposition.

TV presenter Charlie Webster, 60s pop star Dave Berry and Sheffield businesswoman Lindsay Graham all resigned as patrons of Sheffield United after Evans was invited to return to training. Musician Paul Heaton stood down as a patron of the club's community foundation.

Bramall Lane
Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill wanted her name removed from one of the Bramall Lane stands should Evans play for Sheffield United again

Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill stated that she wanted her name removed from one of the Bramall Lane stands should Evans play for the club again, while shirt sponsor DBL Logistics also threatened to end its backing of the club.

On Saturday Hartlepool's Labour MP Iain Wright said Evans was a "pariah" and signing him would send the wrong message to young fans.

Following Hartlepool's statement on Sunday, Wright told BBC Sport: "I'm really pleased that the owners of Hartlepool United have seen sense and Ched Evans won't be signing for Pools.

"It's a good message to send out that we won't have convicted rapists signing for Hartlepool United. We're a family club."

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