Former Sheffield United striker Ched Evans has lost the first stage of an appeal against his conviction for rape.
The Welshman was sentenced to five years in jail in April after being found guilty of raping a 19-year-old girl in a hotel room.
Evans’ lawyers say 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 from Evans’ representatives said.
“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 Sheffield United at the end of last season, while former team-mate Clayton McDonald was acquitted of all charges.