SHEFFIELD UNITED: Evans allowed to shoot for 2012 Olympic gold

Free to play: Blades and Wales striker Ched Evans

Free to play: Blades and Wales striker Ched Evans

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CHED Evans will not face punishment from the Football Association of Wales if he appears at this summer’s Olympics, The Star can confirm.

Stuart Pearce, the Great Britain coach, watched Evans score a hat-trick against Chesterfield last month and afterwards the Sheffield United striker confirmed he would be “interested” in taking part should the opportunity arise.

Although FA chiefs at Wembley have backed Team GB’s participation in the London games, the remaining home nations have expressed concerns it could threaten their independent status within world governing body FIFA.

However, an FAW spokesperson admitted last night that, although the organisation’s stance on the issue has not changed, participation was “a matter for the players concerned”.

“There won’t be any sanction or action taken against them,” he said. “They won’t find that it prejudices their involvement with Wales in the future.

“As an organisation, we have made our position clear in the past and it’s not changed. But if someone is asked and chooses to play that’s their personal choice.”

Despite making a slow start following his move from Manchester City in 2009, Evans has emerged as a driving force behind United’s climb to second in the League One table this term. The 23-year-old, who has won 13 senior caps for the principality, claimed his 31st goal of the season against Hartlepool on Saturday.

Former United and Wales manager Gary Speed, who before his death was credited with helping repair Evans’ confidence, outlined the reasons behind the FAW’s viewpoint before the recent friendly with Norway.

United’s leading scorer was not present at the meeting but the spokesperson said: “I’m sure he knows it took place and what was discussed at the time.”

The Olympic tournament runs from July 25 to August 11. Wales, now coached by Chris Coleman, host Bosnia-Herzegovina in their last warm-up for September’s World Cup qualifier against Belgium four days after the final.