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The former Sheffield United forward has failed in a bid to overturn a five-year jail term handed down in April, but his lawyers say that he will explore all avenues of appeal

Former Sheffield United striker Ched Evans has lost the first stage of an appeal against his conviction for rape, but has indicated that he will continue to fight against the charges.

The Welshman was sentenced to five years in jail in April after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old girl in a Rhyl hotel.

And, though his appeal has now been rejected, Evans' representatives insist that they will explore further options, including taking the case to the Court of Appeal in a bid to get the conviction quashed.

"We have today received notification from the Court of Appeal that the single judge has refused Ched Evans' application for leave to appeal against his conviction for rape," a statement read.

"We wish to confirm that Ched Evans continues to maintain his innocence in this matter and, as he is entitled to do so, he shall continue with his appeal to the full Court of Appeal where he believes that a comprehensive and objective analysis of the case will ultimately lead to his conviction being overturned."

Evans was sentenced to five years in jail in April, which led to his release by the Blades at the end of last season, while fellow footballer Clayton McDonald was declared innocent on all counts.

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