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Fallout from rape case could lead to new English Football Association rules

01/09/2015 09:37 EST | Updated 03/11/2015 05:59 EDT
LONDON - The English Football Association is considering new rules governing conduct and eligibility in response to the case of a player trying to resume his career after serving prison time for rape.

Although Ched Evans was released from jail in October and is eligible to play, clubs have rejected the chance to sign the former Manchester City and Sheffield United striker in the face of protests by fans and sponsors.

Evans was convicted of raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel room in 2011 in a case that led to criticism of the lifestyle of some footballers and their conduct on nights out. Prosecutors said the hotel room was booked in Rhyl, Wales, by Evans with the "purpose of procuring a girl or girls that night."

FA chairman Greg Dyke responded to calls for the governing body to do more to tackle off-field behaviour and establish guidelines for clubs on employing convicted players.

"It is important that we continue to look at the issue of behaviour and attitudes within football, and recognize the unique privileges and responsibilities that come with being a participating member of the national game," Dyke said Friday in a statement, discussing the high-profile case in depth for the first time.

"I would encourage the game to consider and discuss this matter and the prospect for future guidelines or codes of conduct. The FA will certainly be considering it in line with our own ongoing review of what constitutes public or private communications and behaviour."

After unsuccessfully challenging the verdict at the Court of Appeal, Evans is now trying to clear his name with the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

A day after a bid to join Oldham collapsed, Evans received the backing of a Premier League coach on Friday. Hull manager Steve Bruce said he contacted Oldham earlier this week to support the club's willingness to allow the former Wales international to revive his career.

"I'm a big believer that if you have done your time everyone deserves a second chance," Bruce said. "We have seen footballers involved with accidents and being given a second chance."

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Rob Harris can be followed at www.twitter.com/RobHarris

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