The BBC are reporting that Ched Evans is back training with Sheffield United….
Sheffield United will allow convicted rapist Ched Evans to train with them following their former player’s release from prison, the BBC has learned.
The 25-year-old was freed last month after serving half of a five-year sentence for raping a 19 year-old woman in a hotel room in 2011.
There has been controversy over whether he should resume his football career.
The League One club continues to deliberate on any long-term decision about the Wales international.
He will train with the club for the first time since his release later this week, a move that will be seen by many as the first step towards a possible return.
It is also understood the club contacted the football authorities to notify them that they wanted the player to train with them.
Evans, who maintains his innocence, released a video statement on his personal website last month, in which he said he wanted to play again.
“It is a rare and extraordinary privilege to be permitted to play professional football. It is my hope that I will be able to return,” he said.
“If that is possible then I will do so with humility having learned a very painful lesson.
“I would like a second chance but I know not everyone would agree.”
Evans claims the sex was “consensual in nature and not rape” and did not offer any apology to his victim. He has so far declined any request to be interviewed by the BBC.
Evans walked out of Wymott prison in October and straight into a national debate over his future.
Almost 157,000 people have signed a petition urging Sheffield United not to take the player back after the club chose not to renew his contract following his conviction. His deal expired during his incarceration.
However, the Professional Footballers’ Association said he should be allowed to play again after serving his sentence.
The BBC understands that after lengthy internal discussions, the club’s board agrees that their former player has a right to rehabilitation after his punishment, and deserves a chance to make a fresh start.
Sources maintain that manager Nigel Clough is still to decide whether he wants the striker in his squad, and insist that allowing Evans to train with them does not necessarily mean he will be offered a fresh contract.
However, Clough has said that any decision on the convicted rapist is one for United’s co-owners, Prince Abdullah Bin Musa’ad Bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, and Kevin McCabe.