Football Unites, Racism Divides (FURD) is extremely concerned that Sheffield United have agreed that their former player Ched Evans should be allowed to train with the club following his release from prison for the offence of rape.
FURD as a voluntary youth organisation, has worked closely with Sheffield United for almost 20 years to increase participation in football for all regardless of race, religion, gender, sexuality or disability.
We strongly believe that the club's recent offer to an unrepentant, convicted rapist sends out a very negative message to young women in particular, but also to young men who often look up to footballers as role models.
FURD is also deeply concerned by the position adopted by the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) regarding the serious nature of the criminal offence and their decision to unconditionally support Ched Evans.
The PFA have played a key leadership role in the campaigns against discrimination in football and been a great supporter of FURD, but we believe they now risk undermining their deserved reputation in fighting for equality.
We strongly urge co-chairmen Kevin McCabe and Jim Phipps to reverse their decision to invite Ched Evans to train with Sheffield United.