Convicted rapist Ched Evans is unlikely to be able to resume his football career abroad due to the UK's tough regime in managing sex offenders.
Maltese League leaders Hibernians FC announced yesterday that they had offered a deal to the 26-year-old striker for the remainder of the season, although the BBC quoted a spokesman for Evans denying the player received a contract offer.
However, because sex offenders are under strict conditions imposed in the UK it is impractical for them to work abroad.
Considering the former Wales international striker had an offer to train with former club Sheffield United retracted in November following strong local opposition, while Tranmere, Oldham and Hartlepool also rejected the opportunity to sign him, it looks unlikely that Evans will ever play professional football again.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "We are determined to have one of the toughest regimes in the world for managing sex offenders, to stop them re-offending and to protect victims.
"Probation officers must give permission for sex offenders on licence to take up new jobs and this includes ensuring they hold regular face to face meetings - this effectively rules out working abroad.
"The offenders will also be subject to strict conditions such as exclusion zones, non-contact orders and having to attend sex offender treatment programmes."
The interest from Hibernians, who top their domestic league having dropped just two points all season, prompted Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat to urge the club to think carefully about pursuing a deal.
"Footballers are role models. Hibs decision will define them + to an extent #Malta," a tweet on the verified Twitter account of Muscat's office read. "I hope (management) understand this clearly before final decision."
However, justice minister Owen Bonnici believes Evans deserves the chance to resume his football career having been released after serving half of a five-year prison sentence.
The former Wales international was released from prison in October after serving two-and-a-half years of a five-year sentence after being found guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman in 2011.
He was initially given permission by Sheffield United to return to train with the club at the request of players' union, the Professional Footballers Association.
But following a backlash from Blades supporters, sponsors and patrons opposed to Evans' return - 160,000 people signed a petition against it - the club retracted the offer.
Tranmere chairman Mark Palios claimed the League Two club turned down an approach from associates of Evans' about the possibility of him playing for the club, before League One Oldham last month denied reports they had offered Evans the opportunity to train with the club.
Independent News Service