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The PFAI Are Taking A Lot Of Criticism For Publishing An Article About Ched Evans

Gary Reilly
By Gary Reilly
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The Professional Footballers Association of Ireland have taken the seemingly unnecessary step of publishing an article from their solicitor Stuart Gilhooly regarding the ongoing situation with Ched Evans. For anyone not aware of the situation, former Sheffield United striker Evans was convicted of rape in April 2012 and served a two and a half year sentence before being released last month. He has since begun training with Sheffield United once more at the behest of the PFA in England.

Evans continues to make headlines due to the will they won't they nature of Sheffield United's possible resigning of the Welshman. A number of high profile patrons of the club have severed links over the ongoing situation and Jessica Ennis-Hill has this week said that she will demand that the club remove her name from one of the Bramall Lane stands if Evans is resigned.

It is in this climate that the PFAI have decided to publish an article which many seem to feel trivialises Evans' actions. Regardless of how you might view the article, the question must be asked, why did the PFAI feel the need to comment on such an obviously delicate subject that doesn't directly concern them?

This section of the article in particular has been quite contentious.

So, let’s get to the point, should Ched Evans be allowed back in football? Clearly, if he has been a victim of miscarriage of justice then he should.

However, let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that he is guilty and knew he was having sex with a woman that was too drunk to consent. In those circumstances, he has deservedly received a five year sentence and the consequences that flow from a conviction for a sexual offence. Rape is a horrific crime which, upon rightful conviction, should always be punished by a custodial sentence.

The difficult element of this discussion, though, is the part about the scale of the crime. There are people who will say rape is rape and degrees shouldn’t come into it but in sentencing these issues matter. This crime, as alleged, was at the bottom end. There was no violence and thankfully the victim has no recollection of it. This, I hasten to add, does not make it right, or anything close to it, but it is nonetheless a mitigating factor.

You can read the article in full on the PFAI website.


The response to the piece has been far from positive.




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