Sheffield MP calls for FA to set up Commission to look into Ched Evans case

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Sheffield MP Clive Betts is calling for the Football Association to set up a commission to look at what can be learned from the Ched Evans affair.

The Labour MP for Attercliffe and Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Football Group, said the FA needs to ‘take the lead’.

He spoke out after talks between Oldham Athletic and Evans broke down amid a huge backlash from fans, sponsors, politicians and former footballers all against the League One club offering the convicted rapist a contract.

Sheffield United faced a similar backlash when it offered the club’s former player use of its training facilities on his release from prison.

Evans was freed in October mid-way through a five year sentence for raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel on a night out in North Wales.

Mr Betts said he hopes the FA learns from the situation sets up a special commission to offer ‘clear recommendations and programmes’ for advising and supporting young players about the changes to expect when becoming a professional football.

He said it should also look at ‘the standards of behaviour and conduct that are expected of professional players’.

And he suggested that the commission could offer ‘guidance to be followed by all clubs in the management of offenders and the particular responses and sanctions that are expected for particular types of offence’.

Mr Betts said: “It is the failure of the key stakeholders to grab hold of the issues that is the most concerning.

“Heads need to be taken out of the sand, and quickly.

“The football community just needs to stop and listen for a moment, reflect carefully and then develop a constructive way forward.”