Ched Evans has signed a one-year contract with Chesterfield FC, ahead of a retrial over rape allegations in October.
The former Wales and Sheffield United striker from St Asaph, was jailed for raping a 19 year-old woman at a Rhuddlan hotel. After serving half of a five year sentence, his conviction was quashed in April following a High Court appeal.
Mr Evans last played professionally under current Spireites manager Danny Wilson when he was at Sheffield United in 2012. He also worked with Chesterfield’s first team coach Chris Morgan at Bramall Lane.
Club chairman Dave Allen said: “We are delighted to have secured the services of an outstanding footballer, who is now keen to get back to work and score goals…Chesterfield Football Club have given a great deal of thought to this signing and following the court’s decision, we are in no doubt that Ched Evans should be welcomed back into his profession as a professional footballer.”
Mr Evans added: ”I am very excited and privileged to be resuming my career at Chesterfield and I hope to make a valuable contribution both on and off the pitch for the football club, the fans and the community.”
After his release from prison, Evans’ attempts to resume his footballing career led to a public backlash – Sheffield United withdrew an invitation to allow him to train with the club while Oldham Athletic abandoned a bid to sign him.
In response to a survey of League One and League Two clubs carried out last year, Chesterfield told the BBC that they would not have signed Evans.
In April this year, Evans’ rape conviction was quashed by a panel of three judges at the Old Bailey, after his lawyers submitted fresh evidence which was not heard during the trial at Caernarfon Crown Court in 2012. He has since been formally charged with the allegations ahead of the retrial in October.
Chesterfield FC added they would be making no further comment and asked for the player to be given space to concentrate on the pre-season schedule. Evans is due to join the club officially on 1st July.