Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor has offered an apology for any offence caused after he appeared to compare Ched Evans' attempt to clear his name with the Hillsborough disaster.
Taylor made the comments in a radio interview after it emerged that Evans' proposed move to Oldham had collapsed amid threats to club staff and their families.
On Friday morning, Taylor's comments were criticised as "crass, insensitive and inappropriate" by Phil Scraton, an adviser to the bereaved families who was speaking to the BBC.
Shortly afterwards, Taylor spoke to several British media outlets to apologise and explain his comments.
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He told talkSPORT: "If any of the Hillsborough support group families are offended I'm extremely sorry and I apologise for that. But I hope they understand the point I was trying to make."
Then later Taylor told Sky Sports News HQ: "I never intended to cause any offence with what I said about Hillsborough. If people feel that way about it then I can only apologise. It's just that the inquest is on, I'm a football man, and I am very much aware of the accusations that were made about the Liverpool supporters at the time.
"I was not comparing the two, that was never my intention, it's just a fact of life that convictions can be overturned.
"If we're talking about things in football, we know what was alleged to have happened at Hillsborough and it's now unravelling. We are finding it is very different to how it was portrayed at the time."
Taylor, who took over his position as PFA boss in 1981, has faced calls to resign, but he insisted that he would only do so if his members wanted him out.
"Being CEO of the PFA is a high-profile profession. There have been a lot of times in my career in which players have been in trouble, and it has caused problems," he added.
"I am elected by the members. They choose me and if they don't want me they can tell me. Meanwhile I will continue to defend them and do the job the best of my ability.
"I've been doing the job for 35 years. I was there at Hillsborough and have sympathised and supportered Liverpool supporters ever since then."
Evans, now 26, was jailed in April 2012 after being convicted of raping a 19-year-old woman. He maintains the sex in a Rhyl hotel was consensual and protests his innocence. He was released from prison on licence in October, after serving half of a five-year sentence.
An appeal against the conviction was rejected by three judges at the Court of Appeal in 2012 and the case is currently being considered by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
Taylor mentioned Evans' situation alongside events that followed the Hillsborough tragedy, which resulted in the deaths of 96 Liverpool supporters at the 1989 FA Cup semifinal against Nottingham Forest in Sheffield.
After years of campaigning by the families of those who died, new inquests into the deaths began last year and are continuing in Warrington.
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Taylor had told BBC Radio 5 Live: "He would not be the first person or persons to have been found guilty and maintained their innocence and then been proved right.
"If we are talking about things in football, we know what happened, what was alleged to have happened at Hillsborough. And it's now unravelling and we are finding it was very different to how it was portrayed at the time -- indeed by the police at the time.
"He's in a very difficult situation because he's been put through a wringer and the minute you show any sympathy for Ched everybody will say 'Well, what about the other parties concerned?'
"And that's why I'm making the point that nobody's forgetting them."
Taylor added: "Obviously it's not a good time for him - he needs support like everybody in this particular incident needs support, not least the woman concerned."