Oldham appear not to have ruled out signing convicted rapist Ched Evans. The former Sheffield United striker has been linked with the club as he seeks a return to football having served half of a five-year prison sentence.
And chief executive Neil Joy read a statement outside the club's Boundary Park ground in which he said the club would "continue to have conversations" with the Professional Footballers' Association and "conduct due diligence" on the potential signing of Evans.
Joy said: "Oldham Athletic is not at this stage making any official announcement with regard to the speculation concerning Ched Evans.
"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.
"The club would also request that its stakeholders and partners' position and privacy be respected until this matter has been concluded. We will not be making any further comment for the time being."
Evans was found guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman in 2011 but has protested his innocence since being released in October.
The news that the club is in discussions with the player provoked outrage among fans, sponsors, and politicians.
As of last night, over 28,000 people had signed a petition urging the club not to sign the former Sheffield United and Manchester City forward.
The club risks losing sponsors if they sign Evans. Craig Verling of Verlin Rainwater Solutions which sponsors a stand at Boundary Park, said the company would terminate its involvement with the Latics if Evans joined up with the League One outfit.
Verling said: ''The club know our stance and that is, if they sign or allow Ched Evans to train we will be out of the door."
Oldham manager Lee Johnson chose his words carefully as he spoke to the 40-plus assembled media who had gathered outside Boundary Park on Monday.
The 33-year-old said: "I understand these are very difficult circumstances. I respect that for everyone. It's a board decision... I don't want to comment. Whatever the board decides I will be a part of."