Jessica Ennis-Hill tells Sheffield United ‘not in my name’ if Ched Evans signs

Sheffield United's Bramall Lane stand named after Sheffield Olympic golden girl Jessica Ennis'-Hill
Sheffield United's Bramall Lane stand named after Sheffield Olympic golden girl Jessica Ennis'-Hill

Jessica Ennis-Hill warned she will demand her name is torn down from Bramall Lane if Ched Evans rejoins Sheffield United.

The 2012 Olympic heptathlon gold medallist asked the Blades to remove her name from the Jessica Ennis stand if the club does re-sign the convicted rapist.

Jess Ennis-Hill

Jess Ennis-Hill

She added: “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.”

The Blades are allowing Evans to train at the club after a request from the Professional Footballers’ Association.

Privately, Ennis-Hill is understood to have been troubled by the link between Ched Evans and United.

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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.”

Ennis’ statement comes after TV presenter Charlie Webster, 1960s pop star Dave Berry and Sheffield businesswoman Lindsay Graham all resigned of patrons of the Sheffield United Community Foundation.

Two of the club’s main sponsors, John Holland Sales and DBL Logistics, threatened to pull out of their deals if Evans rejoins.

John Holland Sales said it would ‘re-evaluate’ its sponsorship, while DBL Logistics said it ‘would end’ its deal.

Sports giant Adidas distanced itself from the row, saying it ‘does not condone’ Ched Evans and that the club’s kit maker ‘does not sponsor Ched Evans and never have done’.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, a Sheffield MP, said he would not let the 25-year-old return to his former side if it was his decision, but suggested the Welsh international could resume his career with a foreign club.

He said: “Footballers are not just any old employee, they are obviously athletes but they are role models and a lot of kids look up to them.”

Ched Evans 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.

The striker denied raping the woman, saying the sex was consensual, but he was found guilty by a jury at Caernarfon Crown Court.

An appeal against Evans’s conviction was rejected by three judges at the Court of Appeal in 2012. His case is due to be looked at by the Criminal Case Review Commission.