English club Sheffield United withdraws offer to allow convicted rapist to train at facilities

An English football club has withdrawn its offer to allow a player who was convicted of rape to resume training at its facilities, following a backlash from critics.

Sheffield United, which plays in England's third tier, accepted last week a request from the country's players' union to allow Wales international Ched Evans to train at the club following his release from jail after serving half of a five-year sentence for rape.

United's decision was criticized by leading politicians, campaign groups and its own shirt sponsor, while Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis said she would want her name removed from one of the stands at the club's stadium if Evans was to be signed.

United says on Thursday the reaction "has been at an intensity that could not have been anticipated when first announced."