Ched Evans issues apology

Ched Evans has shown the first sign of contrition over his rape conviction via the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA).

Evans was released from prison in October after serving half of a five-year sentence and has been seeking a return to professional football.

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

League One side Oldham Athletic are the latest club to be linked with a move for his services, with chairman Simon Corney stating on Wednesday that there was an "80 per cent chance" a deal would be concluded.

However, it now appears as though Evans will not be offered a contract at Boundary Park after Oldham also saw financial backers withdraw support.

Evans has taken the case to the Criminal Cases Review Commission and has vowed to clear his name, protesting his innocence all along.

However, he has now moved for the first time to apologise to the woman involved - as well as others - "for the effects" his actions have had.

The statement read: "I am grateful for the support of the PFA in helping me try to return to football and continue my career.

"Upon legal advice, I was told not to discuss the events in question. This 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 referral 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 effects that night in Rhyl has had on many people, not least 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."