TV presenter quits as Sheffield United patron over rapist footballer
British TV presenter Charlie Webster has quit her role as Sheffield United's patron after the League One club allowed convicted rapist Ched Evans to train with them.
Evans, a former Manchester City youth striker, was released from prison last month after serving half of a five-year sentence handed to him in April 2012 for raping a woman in a North Wales hotel.
He was allowed to train with the Blades following a request from the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) to allow him to get his career back on track.
While the club have stated that no decision has been made over re-signing the 25-year-old, Webster felt that she had to make a stand after the club failed to acknowledge the "extremity of his crime" despite having "positive" talks with club chairman Kevin McCabe prior to announcing her resignation.
The 32-year-old herself had been sexually assaulted as a teenager.
Speaking to the BBC, Sky TV's Webster - a lifelong United fan who previously said she would step down from her patron role if Evans was re-signed - said: "I suppose I feel I need to make a decision as patron of Sheffield United.
"My decision is made on the fact that I don't believe a convicted rapist, as in Ched Evans, should go back to a club that I am patron of and should go back into the community to represent the community.
"He's not just going into a job, he's bandied as a role model, we cheer him on as a role model and he's influencing the next generation of young men who are currently still making their decisions on how to treat women and what sexual mutual consent is."
Welsh striker Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United before his imprisonment.
United manager Nigel Clough defended the club's decision to accept the PFA's request to allow Evans to rebuild his fitness, stressing that the decision was thought through and that no further action had been taken.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, he said: "I think everything has been deliberated properly, nobody has rushed into any decisions at the club.
"Everybody realises the gravity of the situation and seriousness of everything and that’s why it has taken so long to even get to this stage.
"It has been prompted by the PFA and that's as far as it goes now. We deliberated as a club for some weeks and came to this decision. According to the law of the land he is entitled an opportunity to resume his career.
"(Evans signing permanently for the club is) a long way from being true.
"The statement said that he is purely down to train with us and we will take it from there."
Sources: BBC, AFP