Ched Evans timeline: Key events since player's conviction

Ched Evans
Evans was convicted in 2012 of raping a 19-year-old woman in a Rhyl hotel

Footballer Ched Evans is at the Court of Appeal this week as he seeks to have his rape conviction overturned.

Here we recap the events since the 27-year-old former Sheffield United player's conviction in 2012.

20 April 2012: Evans found guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel in May 2011 while he was a forward at Sheffield United.

30 May 2012: Sheffield United release Evans, a player they signed from Manchester City for £3m in 2009.

November 2012: Evans loses his first appeal against the conviction.

19 July 2014: Evans begins a fresh attempt to have his conviction overturned by asking the Criminal Cases Review Commission to examine his case in the hope it will lead to a new appeal.

17 October 2014: Having served half of his five-year sentence, Evans is released from Wymott Prison, near Leyland in Lancashire.

19 October 2014: The CCRC says it is to fast-track its investigation into the Evans conviction and says the process could begin within weeks.

Ched Evans's career in numbers
Manchester City161
Norwich City (loan)2810
Sheffield United11348

15 October 2014: Sheffield United boss Nigel Clough says talks have taken place about the possibility of Evans returning to the Blades.

11 November 2014: Almost 150,000 people sign a petition urging Sheffield United not to take Evans back. But club officials say they intend to allow Evans to train with them following a request from the Professional Footballers' Association. Television presenter Charlie Webster resigns as a patron of Sheffield United, telling BBC's Newsnight that "at no point" had the club acknowledged the "extremity of his crime".

Charlie Webster announced her decision to step down as a patron on the BBC's Newsnight

12 November 2014: Two more Sheffield United patrons - 1960s pop star Dave Berry and Sheffield businesswoman Lindsay Graham - resign. Sheffield United shirt sponsor DBL Logistics says it will end its association with the club if Evans rejoins, while Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg - the MP for Sheffield Hallam - reiterates his earlier statement that footballers have a "public responsibility to set an example for other people".

13 November 2014: Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill says she wants her name to be removed from a stand named after her by Sheffield United if the club offer Evans a contract.

20 November 2014: Sheffield United retract their offer to let Evans use their training facilities following consultation with supporters, officials, staff and sponsors.

1 December 2014: Oldham Athletic deny reports linking Evans with a move to the club.

3 December 2014: The CCRC begins an inquiry into Evans' conviction. The investigation could take 35 weeks.

20 December 2014: Hartlepool boss Ronnie Moore says he would like to sign Evans. "He is a proven scorer," says Moore. "He's served his time and the boy wants to play football."

21 December 2014: Hartlepool say they will not be signing Evans, "irrespective of his obvious ability as a football player".

2 January 2015: Maltese side Hibernians say they want to sign the Wales striker on a deal until the end of the season and have made him an offer.

3 January 2015: The Evans camp deny there has been an offer from Hibernians, while a Ministry of Justice spokesperson says strict conditions imposed on sex offenders "effectively rules out working abroad".

4 January 2015: PFA chief Gordon Taylor reveals an unnamed club will hold a news conference regarding Evans, although no deal has yet been signed. BBC Sport learns that club is League One side Oldham Athletic.

5 January 2015: Oldham may not go through with the deal to sign Evans after more than 30,000 people sign an online petition urging the Latics not to add him to their squad, while some sponsors threaten to end their association with the club. Manager Lee Johnson says Oldham are in "a very difficult situation" and it would be "a board decision" if Evans is signed.

6 January 2015: A woman who started a petition against Evans' proposed move to Oldham claims the player "doesn't know what rape is". The attorney general's office is considering whether Evans's website, on which he maintains his innocence, breaches contempt of court laws.

7 January 2015: After several days of negotiations, Oldham owner Simon Corney says there is an "80% chance" they will sign Evans, and says three unnamed Premier League club managers have offered their support.

8 January 2015: Oldham decide against signing Evans following threats to the club's "staff and their families" (which will be investigated by Greater Manchester Police) and "enormous pressure from sponsors". Evans later issues an apology "for the effects" of his actions in 2011 but maintains his innocence over the conviction. He later releases a statement on his website blaming "mob rule" and "the more radical elements of our society" for the collapse of talks.

9 January 2015: Gordon Taylor apologises after appearing to compare the Evans case to the Hillsborough disaster in a BBC interview. Hull City boss Steve Bruce questions Evans' conviction and says he should be given a chance to play again. The Football Association may change its code of conduct after admitting it is powerless to intervene.

10 January 2015: Oldham director Barry Owen says he has "no regrets" over the club's attempt to sign Evans - explaining the approach was "driven by football reasons" and its failure "came down purely to finances".

28 January 2015: Evans submits fresh evidence in the hope of having his rape conviction overturned. The new evidence is lodged with the Criminal Cases Review Commission by his lawyers.

16 September 2015: A three-man panel decides Evans' rape conviction needs further assessment by a review panel before it decides whether to send his case to the Court of Appeal.

5 October 2015: The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) refers the conviction to the Court of Appeal, basing it on new information which was not raised at trial.

2 March 2016: Date decided for the appeal hearing into the rape conviction.

22 March 2016: Appeal begins at the High Court in London.

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