Ched Evans: Oldham Drop Move For Convicted Rapist After 'Threats'
Oldham Athletic have decided against signing convicted rapist Ched Evans following threats to the club's “staff and their families”.
A board member told BBC sports editor Dan Roan the decision was also taken because of “enormous pressure from sponsors”.
Evans is expected to release a statement saying he understands the club's change of heart.
The Wales international was jailed in April 2012 for raping a woman.
He was released from prison in October after serving half of a five-year sentence and the owner of the League One club, Simon Corney, had said on Wednesday that a deal for the 26-year-old striker was “80% likely”.
But after days of intense speculation Oldham have called off the move.
More than 60,000 people signed a petition calling on Oldham not to sign former Sheffield United player Evans, while a number of campaigners and politicians voiced opposition to the move.
Club sponsors were told on Wednesday to prepare for confirmation of the Evans deal after days of negotiations.
That prompted Verlin Rainwater Solutions to end its association with the club immediately, while a second backer, ZenOffice, revealed it would sever ties if Evans signed.
It is the second time a club has abandoned attempts to sign Evans.
His former club Sheffield United ended their interest following another public outcry, with more than 160,000 people signing an online petition against his return.
Evans continues to protest his innocence, and an investigation into his conviction by the Criminal Cases Review Commission is under way.