Sports Direct owner urged to withdraw support over Ched Evans

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Controversial Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley, whose sporting retail empire headquarters are in Shirebrook, has been urged to withdraw his company’s sponsorship of Oldham Athletic if they sign convicted rapist Ched Evans.

Northumbria police and crime commissioner Vera Baird has called on Ashley, who also owns Newcastle United, to drop the support for the League One club, thought to be worth around £1m.

She wrote to Mr Ashley: “He (Evans) should not be taken on as a footballer with the high profile heroism that young people attach to such figures.

“Footballers are role models and it is wrong that Oldham Athletic are considering signing Ched Evans, who is a convicted rapist.

“If Oldham Athletic decide to appoint him, I would urge you to withdraw Sports Direct sponsorship at the club.

“Sports Direct needs to speak out now, before any board meeting. Your stance needs to be unequivocally clear – that there is no place in British football for unrepentant convicted rapists.”

Sports Direct have thus far declined to comment on the matter.