Rapist footballer Ched Evans must be allowed play again for a club because it would help jobless people, the Professional Footballers' Association, has claimed in an unusual defence of the sex crime striker.

PFA chief Gordon Taylor called on clubs to ignore outcry at the prospect of the former Sheffield United player resuming his professional career upon completing his jail sentence for raping a teenager.

Taylor - who heads the players' union - said unemployed people in Britain would be helped by Evans joining a club.

An online petition asking Evans' former club Sheffield Utd to not re-employ him has gathered nearly 100,000 signatures.

"He still wants to contribute to society. If he earns money he'll pay taxes, those taxes will go to help people who maybe can't get a job," said Taylor.

Denying Evans the opportunity of plying his trade in the lower leagues would be an injustice because he would have already paid for his crime, said Taylor.

"I didn't know there was a law that said once you come out of prison you still can't do anything," he told BBC Wales.

Evans was convicted of raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel in 2012 and jailed for five years. His legal team are mounting a bid to quash his conviction.

Twitter trolls defending Evans revealed his victim's identity online, leading the woman to flee her home.