Oldham Athletic's chairman Simon Corney has said that his club is "80 per cent" likely to sign convicted rapist footballer Ched Evans.
In an interview with the Jewish Chronicle, Corney spoke out for the first time since reports emerged Oldham were considering signing Evans over the weekend.
He told the newspaper he believed it was important to "stick to your principles".
We believe he has served his time. There is an 80 per cent chance of us signing him. It won’t be done today. It’s not straightforward and there are some legal issues.
There might be a cost implication, but you have to stick to your principles. We weren’t surprised by the backlash.
And he told people offended by the club's decision that while he understood their views "we want people to keep them in check" .
Earlier today Verlin Rainwater Solutions, one of the Oldham's sponsors, withdrew its support and said it will no longer be associated with the League One club due to their “imminent signing” of Evans.
Since being released from prison in October 2014 after serving half of his five-year sentence for rape, Sheffield United, Tranmere and Hartlepool have all turned down the opportunity to sign Evans.
Evans, who remains on licence, has not apologised or shown contrition for his crime, saying he believes he is innocent. The Attorney General's office is reported to be considering whether a website supporting him, which shows CCTV of his victim, has breached the law.
Jean Hatchet, the woman who started the 60,000-strong Change.org petition calling on Corney not to sign Evans, told i100.co.uk on Monday:
Every time a club offers a rapist a contract it actually says ‘we don’t care about raped women’.