Former Sheffield United striker Ched Evans has signed to Chesterfield FC just months before he's due to face a retrial over rape allegations.
In a statement published on the club's website on Monday, Chesterfield chair Dave Allen said: "We are delighted to have secured the services of an outstanding footballer, who is now keen to get back to work and score goals."
The Welsh footballer, whose former clubs include Norwich City and Manchester City, will be joining his new team in July on a one-year contract with an option for a further year, the announcement added.
Evans said he was "very excited and privileged" to be resuming his career. "I hope to make a valuable contribution both on and off the pitch for the football club, the fans and the community," he added.
The 27-year-old was jailed in 2012 for raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel after a night out in Rhyl, North Wales.
Evans, who has always denied the charges against him, applied for the right to appeal his conviction in November 2012 but was unsuccessful.
In July 2014 he applied to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which after a 10-month investigation concluded there were grounds for appeal “on the basis of new information which was not raised at trial”.
The chair of the CCRC, Richard Foster, said at the time that the commission's intervention was not a judgment on the guilt of Evans or the honesty of the victim.
"In this case we have identified new material which was not considered by the jury at trial and which in our view might have assisted the defence," he said.
"In those circumstances it is right and proper for the matter to be before the court so that they can decide whether or not the new information should affect the verdict in this case."
The new trial date has been set for 4 October at Cardiff crown court.
Evans was released in October 2014 after serving half of a five-year sentence.
He had planned to join League One side Oldham Athletic in 2015, but the club pulled out of the deal following death threats to staff and pressure from sponsors.
A petition was also launched calling on Sheffield United not to invite Evans back to the club.
Fiona Rutherford is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Fiona Rutherford at email@example.com.
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