Chesterfield striker Ched Evans was found not guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel room.
The 27-year-old was sentenced to five years imprisonment in April 2012 after he had sex with a teenager who was deemed too drunk to consent.
However, Evans was eligible for release after serving half of the sentence and in the latter part of 2013, recruited a new legal team in an attempt to clear his name. He maintained his stance and pleaded his innocence.
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Following a two-week trial which concluded on Friday, he was found not guilty by a 12-member jury panel that consisted of seven women and five men.
Now the Welshman has spoken out about life after the verdict in an exclusive interview with The Mail on Sunday.
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Since it was announced, the woman Evans was accused against has been subject to online abuse, so will he apologise to her?
"I have maintained my innocence from day one," he said. "So I can never apologise directly for what happened but I can apologise for the effect it's had. The social media stuff, I don't condone whatsoever. I don't agree with it.
"It's not been easy for her. I know that. I think it was a situation that got taken out of our hands from an early stage. She never said anybody raped her. She said she had a blackout but that didn't mean, like it was said in court, that she didn't consent. My behaviour that night was not acceptable - but it wasn't a crime."
Despite being given the all-clear, Evans is expected to receive much abuse from football fans when he returns to playing for the Spireites.
"I'll get abuse from football fans but that's what football fans do. There will be nothing hanging over me, nothing at the back of my mind. I don't think I will ever get away from it even after bring found innocent by a jury. I now just want to let the football do the talking."
Talking about his goals now for the rest of his career, he said: "My main target is to start enjoying football again and to start doing well for Chesterfield.
"Only time will tell how I progress in the future. I'm injured at the moment but staying injury free is important.
"I've got a lot of making up to do."
Evans has scored four goals in seven games for the League 1 side, but is set to be out for the next couple of weeks with a minor injury.
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