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Patrons, shirt sponsors pile on pressure following Ched Evans' return to Sheffield United

TV presenter Charlie Webster said that a convicted rapist should not be allowed to represent the community.

Updated 6.57pm

SHEFFIELD UNITED HAVE come under increased pressure today following their decision to allow Ched Evans to return to training.

Television presenter Charlie Webster was the first of three patrons to resign while two shirt sponsors also threatened to terminate their partnership with the club if the Welsh striker was employed again.

Evans, 25, was released from prison last month after serving half of a five-year sentence for raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel room.

Sheffield United confirmed yesterday that he would train at the club following a request from the PFA but they have still to decide whether or not he will be re-signed.

Webster told BBC Newsnight on Tuesday: “My decision is made on the fact that I don’t believe a convicted rapist, as in Ched Evans, should go back to a club that I am patron of and should go back into the community to represent the community.”

Source: BBC Newsnight/YouTube

Two other patrons — Dave Berry, the 1960s pop star, and businesswoman Lindsay Graham, the club’s only other female patron — also stepped down on Wednesday.

Shirt sponsor John Holland Sales released the following statement:

John Holland Sales Ltd today commented on its business relationship with Sheffield United Football Club, following the announcement yesterday that its former player Ched Evans has been allowed to train with the Club after a request from The Professional Footballers’ Association.The Club has confirmed to John Holland Sales Ltd that the player has not been re-employed. The training is with a view to enable Mr Evans to return to a level of fitness which might allow him to seek employment within football.

John Holland Sales is a long established family business and condemns rape and violence of any kind against women in the strongest possible terms.

Whilst ever the ‘ex player’ is not employed by Sheffield United Football Club, John Holland Sales Ltd remains committed to its commercial partnership. Should this situation change John Holland Sales will re-evaluate its position as Shirt sponsor.

DBL Logistics, which sponsors the back of the Blades’ shirt, similarly said that theirs “is a business that has been built with family values at its core.

“It strongly condemns rape and violence of any kind against women.

“DBL Logistics would end its back-of-shirt sponsorship with Sheffield United if the Club employed a convicted rapist.

“However, whilst the current situation remains and Ched Evans is not contracted to Sheffield United, DBL Logistics will continue its business to business relationship with the Club.”

– First published 09.39

Debate Room: Should Ched Evans be allowed to return to professional football?

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Niall Kelly

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