Oldham Athletic have confirmed that they are still in talks with Ched Evans regarding a possible move to the club, regardless of the recent pleas to chairman Simon Corney to not offer the striker a contract, reports the BBC.
Over 30,000 people have signed a petition to the club calling for Evans to not be reinstated in English football, with over one person per second adding their signature in the first 30 minutes of going live on change.org.
This petition has caused somewhat of an impact, as Evans had originally agreed to join the club’s training sessions and sign a long-term contract on Monday.
Due to well publicised objections to the move from Labour Party leader Ed Milliband and Police Commissioner Vera Baird, the club are becoming increasingly apprehensive of the potential pitfalls and negative media attention that may come as a result of offering the convicted rapist a lifeline back into the ranks of professional football.
Sponsors Mecca Bingo and Verlin Rainwater Solutions have also made it clear to the League One outfit that they will not endorse the signing of Evans and would terminate their sponsorship if the deal were to go through.
However, in a statement on the club website, Oldham continued to not rule out the prospect of signing the 26-year-old striker, “we continue to have conversations with representative bodies such as the PFA and will conduct due diligence with regard to any decision we make on this matter.”
Before serving half of his five year jail sentence Evans was a successful and talented forward, having amassed 13 caps for Wales at international level and scoring 42 goals in 103 appearances for League One outfit Sheffield Utd.
The Blades had hoped to regain the services of their star striker but later withdrew their offer after a seperate change.org petition received over 160,000 signatures urging the club not to allow the forward to continue to ply his trade at Brammal Lane.