The Football League have today admitted that they will have “no option” but to accept the registration of shamed star Ched Evans if Sheffield United - or any other league club - decide to sign him.
United revealed earlier today that Evans, who has served half of a five-year sentence for raping a teenager in Rhyl. North Wales, has been allowed to train with the club, at the request of the Professional Footballers’ Association.
And a Football League spokesman added: “Having been in contact with Sheffield United, we note the intention of the Club to allow its former player, Ched Evans, the opportunity to train at its facilities. Should The Football League receive a request from any of its member clubs to register the player, we will have no option but to accept it - assuming that all other aspects of the proposed registration are in order.
“Ultimately the choice of whether to engage a player that has been released from a custodial sentence will be one for individual clubs who, having ensured that the player has the required permission from the probation service to work in football, will have to make their own assessment of the potential consequences for their public reputation and business affairs, as well as the relationship they have with their own supporters.
“While we fully understand the gravity of the offence in question in this particular case, we also recognise that there is a value to wider society in enabling offenders to be rehabilitated through a return to their chosen line of employment. Equally, however, it is important never to lose sight of the effect that crime has on its victims.
“At its most recent meeting, the Board of The Football League considered the implications for football’s reputation of club’s employing players following their release from prison. The Board has asked its Independent Directors to consider the matter further before reporting back to the Board at a future meeting and then our clubs at an appropriate point.”