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Disgraced Evans releases video in bid to clear name

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Screen grab taken from www.chedevans.com of Ched Evans making a statement with his girlfriend Natasha Massey, in which he says he is "determined to continue the fight" to clear his name after he was convicted of of raping a woman in a hotel room. Photo credit: www.chedevans.com/PA Wire

Screen grab taken from www.chedevans.com of Ched Evans making a statement with his girlfriend Natasha Massey, in which he says he is "determined to continue the fight" to clear his name after he was convicted of of raping a woman in a hotel room. Photo credit: www.chedevans.com/PA Wire

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Screen grab taken from www.chedevans.com of Ched Evans making a statement with his girlfriend Natasha Massey, in which he says he is "determined to continue the fight" to clear his name after he was convicted of of raping a woman in a hotel room. Photo credit: www.chedevans.com/PA Wire

Footballer Ched Evans, who was convicted of raping a woman in a hotel room, has said he is "determined to continue the fight" to clear his name and return to playing.

In a video interview posted on his website following his release from prison last Friday, having served half of a five-year jail term, the former Sheffield United striker said his lawyers had already taken steps to overturn the conviction.

He said the sex was consensual, adding he made "an incredibly foolish decision" to cheat on partner Natasha Massey, who appears with Evans in the video message.

Wearing a dark shirt and tie, the 25-year-old Welshman said: "It is a rare and extraordinary privilege to be permitted to play professional football.

"Now that I have served the custodial part of my sentence of two-and-a-half years, it is my hope that I will be able to return to football. If that is possible then I will do so with humility, having learnt a very painful lesson. I would like a second chance."

Sheffield United have dismissed reports that the club has offered Evans a new contract. However, in his video message, he appears to appeal directly to potential employers.

He said: "I don't believe I have a given right to play again, but for any club to take me on, I have learned a valuable lesson.

"I know that over time I can prove myself to be a positive influence, not just on the pitch but also in the community."

Evans scored 42 goals in 103 games for the Blades, having previously played for Manchester City and Norwich City.

Irish Independent