Ched Evans hires PR firm ahead of rape conviction appeal

Disgraced footballer Ched Evans has hired a PR firm to represent him, after being granted the right to an appeal against his 2012 conviction for rape, to be heard next year.

Ched Evans: Has hired Bird Consultancy ahead of his appeal next year
Ched Evans: Has hired Bird Consultancy ahead of his appeal next year

Evans is understood to have hired Manchester-based Bird Consultancy as he seeks to clear his name after he was convicted of raping a 19-year-old woman.

The former Sheffield United footballer was released from prison in October 2014 after serving half of a five-year sentence.

Evans, who has always maintained his innocence, applied to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which investigates miscarriages of justice, after his efforts to appeal against his conviction were rejected.

The CCRC has carried out an investigation and has referred the case to the Court of Appeal, where it will be heard next year.

Commenting on Evans’ decision to hire a PR firm, Richard Elsen, chairman of reputational experts Byfield Consultancy, said: "Because of the shockingly bad coverage to date Ched Evans’ PR team has a mountain to climb in rehabilitating his reputation. This said, there is usually a point in the media cycle where alternative views become more possible to get placed and it is then that the narrative can turn."

Elsen said the result of Evans’ appeal next year would be a crucial factor in his rehabilitation with the public.

He added: "This will define objectively whether the campaign to rebuild Ched Evans’ reputation is successful or yet another PR disaster."

Bird Consultancy has previously worked with lower league football and snooker tournaments. The agency said it had been working with Evans for six months.

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