Ched Evans
Ched Evans apologises but maintains he will continue to pursue his appeal against rape conviction Getty Images

Ched Evans has issued an apology via the Professional Footballers' Association for "the effects that night in Rhyl has had on many people, not least the woman concerned", but maintains his innocence following his conviction for rape.

Evans, who was released from jail in October after being found guilty in 2012, has broken his silence following the news League One side Oldham Athletic have pulled out of a deal to sign the player due to pressure from sponsors.

Reports from the BBC have also suggested the Oldham board's decision was also influenced by threats from supporters.

In his statement, Evans said: "I am grateful for the support of the PFA in helping me try to return to football and continue my career.

"Upon legal advice, I was told not to discuss the events in question. This silence has been misinterpreted as arrogance and I would like to state that this could not be further from the truth.

"I do remain limited at present by what I can say due to the ongoing referral to the Criminal Cases Review Commission and whilst I continue to maintain my innocence, I wish to make it clear that I wholeheartedly apologise for the effects that night in Rhyl has had on many people, not least the woman concerned.

Evans also condemned those using social media as a tool to abuse the woman in question.

"Finally, it has been claimed that those using social media in an abusive and vindictive way towards this woman are supporters of mine. I wish to make it clear that these people are not my supporters and I condemn their actions entirely and will continue to do so."

The PFA also clarified their own position in the Evans furore, stating: "The PFA's position remains the same, as we have expressed previously, that any club which decides to sign him would receive our support.

"We fully recognise that this is a delicate and emotive case and entirely respect that there are opposing views."