Wednesday January 7th, 2015

A sponsor has decided to cut ties with Football League One team Oldham over the "imminent signing" of convicted rapist Ched Evans, Jamie Jackson of The Guardian reports.

Evans, 26, was convicted in 2012 of raping a 19-year-old woman and was released from prison in October 2014.

Oldham is expected to make an announcement on Thursday that they will sign Evans. There is a petition against the signing that has garnered more than 62,000 signatures.

Verlin Rainwater Solutions announced it will end its sponsorship agreement with the club even before a decision is made.

"After receiving the news regarding the imminent signing of Ched Evans it is with great regret that Verlin Rainwater Solutions will no longer be associated with Oldham Athletic.

"We would like to take this opportunity to make clear that we feel that Mr. Evans should be able to lead a life without further punishment after serving his sentence, although our feelings remain the same that this should not be within the public domain where his previous behaviour may influence the next generation.

"We sincerely wish the club a very successful future and have no regrets about being associated with Oldham Athletic over the past few seasons, but feel our continued support would be sending out the wrong message."

ZenOffice and Mecca Bingo have also said they will separate from the club if Evans is signed.

Evans previously played for Sheffield United and Manchester City.

Oldham is 7-9-6 and tied for 13th place in Football League One.

- Paul Palladino

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