Ched Evans
Evans' return to training at Sheffield United sparked outrage.Getty Images

Convicted rapist Ched Evans will not be allowed to continue training at Sheffield United, the club have confirmed.

The 25-year-old resumed training following his release from prison, after serving two-and-a-half years of a five-year sentence for raping a 19-year-old woman at a hotel near Rhyl, north Wales, in May 2011.

In a statement, Sheffield United said it "has decided to retract the opportunity for its former player, Ched Evans, to use the club's facilities for training purposes, as was previously intended.

"The club initially accepted a request from The PFA (Professional Footballers' Association) for Ched Evans to be able to train. The reaction to this has been at an intensity that could not have been anticipated when first announced."

The club added that it recognised "a number of our supporters will be disappointed with this decision".

News that the convicted rapist was allowed to train and may even be resigned by the club, has met with public outrage and condemnation.

Several high-profile public figures severed ties with the league one club, after bosses invited the convicted rapist to return to regain fitness.

Patrons including Beautiful South front man Paul Heaton, Dave Berry, Lindsay Graham and Charlie Webster resigned their roles in protest, while sponsors said they were re-evaluating their association with the club.

Writing on Twitter, TV presenter Ms Webster said it was the right decision. "It's the right thing for the club, its fans, its community and the victim," she wrote. "SUFC is a great club with a fantastic history and now its future can be fantastic too."

However, she immediately faced a backlash from Sheffield United fans, who accused her of using the controversy for publicity. "Hope you are proud of the way you have dragged our name through the mud. No winners here," tweeted one supporter of the club.

Reacting to the news that the club has made a u-turn on their original decision to allow the disgraced footballer to train with them, Deputy PM and Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg tweeted: "A sensible decision by Sheffield United regarding Ched Evans. Step in the right direction."

Clegg had earlier decried the "sick and vile rape threats" made against Jessica Ennis-Hill, after the Olympic gold medallist demanded that her name be removed from the stand at the Bramall Lane ground, if the Welsh international is offered a new contract.

After the Olympian became the target of Twitter trolls for her stance, Sheffield United said they would impose a lifetime ban on anyone found to have been threatening any of the patrons.

An appeal against Evans conviction was rejected by three judges at the Court of Appeal in 2012. His case is due to be examined by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

He continues to protest his innocence and posted a video on YouTube shortly after his release, in which he vowed to clear his name.