Welsh footballer Ched Evans has had his 2012 conviction for rape overturned and a retrial ordered.

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Welsh footballer Ched Evans has appeal for 2012 rape conviction upheld

Judge orders retrial, citing "fresh evidence"

Evans releases short statement, saying he is "extremely grateful" that his conviction for rape has been quashed

CNN  — 

Welsh footballer Ched Evans, who was convicted in 2012 of the rape of a 19-year-old woman, has had his conviction overturned on appeal.

The former English Premier League and Championship player, who played for Sheffield United, Manchester City and Norwich before his conviction, was released from jail on license in October 2014. He has not played professionally since then.

Evans, who has insisted he is innocent, served two-and-a-half years of a five year sentence.

Lady Justice Hallett, announcing the decision on behalf of the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), said it was “in the interests of justice” to order a retrial after new evidence emerged.

Evans must be re-arraigned on the fresh indictment within two months.

‘Extremely grateful’

In a statement, Evans expressed his gratitude to the court of appeal, as well as his legal representation, family and supporters.

“Ched Evans is extremely grateful that the Court of Appeal has ruled that his conviction for rape was unsafe and should be quashed.

“He wants to thank his lawyers… for their hard work and commitment in relation to the CCRC application and the appeal, as well as his partner Natasha, their families and friends and all those members of the public who have offered him support throughout.

“No further statement will be made as it is acknowledged by Mr Evans that the legal process has not reached a final conclusion and there will be further hearings of significance on dates to be fixed in due course.”

Both third-tier Oldham Athletic and his former club, Sheffield United, were dissuaded from signing Evans due to pressure from sponsors as well as criticism from leading politicians and also the British public, with thousands signing petitions against his proposed moves.