Ched Evans
Convicted rapist Ched Evans used to play football for Sheffield UnitedGetty

The FA should refuse to accept the registration of Ched Evans if he signs on with an English football club, according to Labour's Shadow Sports Minister.

Clive Efford argued that the governing body should attempt to stop the convicted rapist returning to the game unless he was cleared of his crime.

"There are many professions that people cannot return to after committing this sort of crime and football must be one of them," the Eltham MP argued.

The comments come after Oldham Athletic were reportedly expected to sign the 26-year-old.

But the Greater Manchester club was set to stage a board meeting to consider the appointment after a petition against the move surpassed 22,000 signatures.

In addition, the club cancelled plans to hold a press conference announcing the signing of Evans.

The Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner, Tony Lloyd, also weighed into the debate and warned that Oldham Athletic would "send the entirely wrong message" if they signed the former Welsh international.

Evans was released midway through his five-year jail term for raping a 19-year-old woman at a hotel near Rhyl, on the north east coast of Wales, in May 2011.

The footballer was sentenced to five years imprisonment in 20 April 2012 and was released on 17 October 2014.

The former Manchester City forward has maintained his innocence and released a YouTube video after he left prison apologising for his infidelity, while vowing to clear his name.

"Since that night I have constantly regretted my act of infidelity and the damage that has been done on so many fronts because of it," he said.

"Even though I have been released from prison I am determined to continue the fight to clear my name and it is public knowledge that an application to refer my case back to the Court of Appeal has recently been submitted to the Criminal Case Review Commission by my lawyers."

But the petition set up by Jean Hatchet argued that Evans "does not deserve" to return to football.

"He does not deserve to return to a high profile and highly visible role in football whilst he still refuses to acknowledge his guilt, apologise to his victim and attempt to make clear his views to the fans who look up to him that what he did was wrong and they should not traumatise her or other rape victims," the petition reads.

"Currently Oldham is said to be considering signing him. This is a damaging message about rape and sexual consent to be giving to your fans. Please think again.

"We do believe he has the right to work. We believe that it does not have to be in a role where he influences views about sexual violence, and his presence on your pitch will do this."