More than 3,000 people have called on Sheffield United not to re-sign rapist Ched Evans on his release from prison.
They have signed a petition urging United not to re-sign the striker following his conviction.
The Blades released the 25-year-old striker shortly after he was jailed for five years in April 2012, having been found guilty of raping a 19 year-old woman in a North Wales hotel.
However, he could be released from jail later this year and the club confirmed last week its representatives had been in touch with Evans as part of the club’s ‘ongoing policy of providing a duty of care to former employees and their families’.
The statement has fuelled speculation he could return to Bramall Lane on his release – sparking the petition.
The petition, online at change.org and started under the name Jean Hatchet, a pseudonym for a feminist campaigner, calls on the club to not re-sign him.
It reads: “Evans was convicted of rape. It was a process of justice. To even consider reinstating him as a player at the same club is a deep insult to the woman who was raped and to all women like her who have suffered at the hands of a rapist.
“The clear message to young boys and men is you will be forgiven for this crime.
“Women will not be believed when they accuse you of that crime even if a court believes them.”
Evans admitted having sex with the woman, but insists it was consensual.
However, the Welsh international, then of Millhouse Green, Penistone, was convicted of rape after a trial at Caernarfon Crown Court.
Co-defendant Clayton McDonald was cleared of the same offence.
Evans was refused leave to appeal against his conviction in August 2012, with the decision upheld by the Court of Appeal three months later.
United paid £3 million to sign Evans from Manchester City in 2009. He scored 35 goals in 42 appearances during the 2011-12 League One campaign, before his conviction.