Sheffield’s Olympic golden girl Jessica Ennis-Hill tonight piled pressure on Sheffield United against re-signing convicted rapist Ched Evans.
The 2012 Olympic Heptathlon Champion is understood to have asked Sheffield United to remove her name from a stand at Bramall Lane if Evans is resigned by the club.
The stand was re-named after Ennis-Hill, a Blades fan, following her Olympic success in 2012.
In a statement, Ennis-Hill said: “I believe being a role model to young people is a huge honour and those in positions of influence in communities should respect the role they play in young people’s lives and set a good example.
“If Evans was to be re-signed by the club, it would completely contradict these beliefs”.
There has been no move by the Blades to offer their former striker a new contract at this time.
But Evans is to be allowed to train with United after they agreed to a request from the Professional Footballers’ Association.
Privately, Ennis-Hill is understood to have been troubled by the link between Ched Evans and United.
The champion athlete, admired by millions of girls and young women for her sporting achievements, told The Star last week she takes being a role model seriously.
She said: “I’ve been in this sport a long time now and I’d always offer advice to any younger athlete coming through.
“You learn from your own experiences but to chat to someone else about how they did it and how they found it is always helpful. I’ll always offer advice if they want it.”
That decision, by the club, resulted in three celebrity patrons to quit the Sheffield United Community Foundation - Sky Sports News presenter Charlie Webster, Sheffield businesswoman Lindsay Graham and the city’s Crying Game 60s star Dave Berry.
The 25-year-old Wales international was released from jail last month after serving half of a five-year jail term imposed in April 2012 for raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel room in Rhyl, North Wales.