Striker Evans laments 'mob rule tactics'

Ched Evans has blamed "mob rule tactics" for the collapse of his proposed move to League One side Oldham Athletic.

Oldham chairman Simon Corney revealed on Wednesday that there was an "80 per cent chance" of convicted rapist Evans joining the club, despite public opposition to the move.

However, Oldham have since confirmed the deal has fallen through, citing "unbearable pressure" and "vile and abusive threats, including death threats" as the reasons for their decision.

Evans, who had shown the first sign of contrition over his rape conviction in a statement released by the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) earlier on Thursday, has now condemned the actions of "the more radical elements of our society" in influencing Oldham.

In a statement on his website, the striker said: "It is with great sadness that I have withdrawn from talks with Oldham Athletic.

"I would like to thank the club, and those who have supported me in my lawful quest to find work. I apologise to the club's supporters, sponsors and all those effected [sic] by the last 72 hours.

"Sadly the 'mob rule' tactics employed by the more radical elements of our society and the constant media reporting has had the desired influence on some sponsors and the club would face significant financial pressure if I joined them.

"The most significant issue for me was that owing to the threat of funding opportunities being withdrawn which may jeopardise the building of Oldham's new stand it would mean that workers would lose their jobs and others would be put at risk - that would simply not be fair."

Striker Evans was released from prison in October after serving half of a five-year sentence for rape.

The Welshman was originally offered the chance to return to training with former club Sheffield United, only for the Yorkshire club to end their pursuit amid pressure from sponsors and club patrons.

In his initial statement released by the PFA, Evans said: "Upon legal advice, I chose not to discuss the events in question. My silence has been misinterpreted as arrogance and I would like to state that this could not be further from the truth.

"I do remain limited at present by what I can say due to the ongoing application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission and whilst I continue to maintain my innocence, I wish to make it clear that I wholeheartedly apologise for the effect that that night in Rhyl has had on many people, especially the woman concerned.

"Finally, it has been claimed that those using social media in an abusive and vindictive way towards this woman are supporters of mine. I wish to make it clear that these people are not my supporters and I condemn their actions entirely and will continue to do so."

PFA chairman Gordon Taylor reiterated the union's support for Evans on Thursday, telling Sky Sports News: "We respect other people's views but we respect his right to work. We're his union and we have to protect him.

"We saw the problems at Sheffield United and the response there, they pulled out, and the same has happened at Oldham."