Ched Evans Applause: Rumours That Fans Would Clap Convicted Rapist Prove Unfounded

Huffington Post UK  |  By Posted: 28/04/2012 16:59 Updated: 28/04/2012 17:43

Ched Evans
Fans of Ched Evans plan to applaud at the match

Rumours that fans of former Sheffield United striker Ched Evans would applaud the convicted rapist during Saturday's match proved unfounded.

Those sympathising with the convicted rapist said they would clap for 60 seconds during the 9th and 35th minute of the match, in recognition of the 35 goals he scored during the season and as a salute to his number nine shirt.

Ched Evans was jailed for five years in March, after his teenage victim was deemed "too drunk to consent" to sex with the footballer. In court, the jury heard how the incident was filmed by two other men watching the attack.

Facebook group 'Securing an immediate retrial for Ched Evans', which over 4000 people have 'liked' has urged fans to applaud the rapist, saying "He will be watching the game so please clap and show your support for an innocent man."

Applause at matches is usually reserved as a tribute for players who are suffering from severe illness or who have recently passed away.

Now applauding a recently deceased member of the game on the minute of the number they wore on their shirt is regarded as customary. Most recently, Aston Villa midfielder Stiliyan Petrov, who was diagnosed with leukaemia in March, was given a minute's applause by Villa fans during their home match with Chelsea in the 19th minute - in tribute to his squad number.

The Sheffield United match against Stevenage at Bramall Lane ground kicks off at 5.20pm. If the applause had gone ahead it would have been a damning inditement for Blades supporters, after Evans' fans used Twitter to reveal the name of the victim.


Andy Halls
Any Sheffield United fans that applaud convicted rapist Ched Evans today should be ashamed. Thought better of the club.

The anonymity of rape victims is protected by law and revealing someone's identity carries a fine of £5000. However after Evans's sentencing, Twitter users employed the hashtag #justiceforched to abuse and identifying the victim.

At one point her name was trending, after fans of Evans unleashed a volley of abuse on the social networking site.

The issue was compounded when Sky news channel accidentally published the woman's name as well, after it broadcast an image of Twitter users discussing the case.


Ched Evans, former Sheffield United Striker was jailed for five years

Fiona Elvines, from the Rape Crisis Centre South London, condemned the individuals who had revealed the victim's name, saying that it was "really, really worrying that people aren't taking this seriously."

"This happened while the woman in question was recovering not just from the rape, but from the difficulty of the trial, which survivors of rape often call a second form of abuse.

"[The comments on Twitter] are creating a cycle where survivors of rape are being blamed. The CPS need to send a really strong message out, that you can't just break the law because you think you are supporting your football club."

North Wales police arrested three people last week, and whilst those individuals have been released on bail, Detective Chief Inspector Steve Williams, who is leading the investigation into the 'naming' on the micro-blogging site, warned that there will be "further arrests".

"Further arrests are planned and will be made in the forthcoming days," said Williams.

Evans' girlfriend Natasha Massey is standing by the Welsh international player, and has kept a picture of the couple sharing a meal as her twitter picture.

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