Former Sheffield United striker Ched Evans has lost the first stage of his appeal against his rape conviction.
The Welshman was sentenced to five years in prison in April after he was found guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel near Rhyl.
Evans, who strongly denies any wrongdoing, will now take his case to the Court of Appeal.
"We have today received notification from the Court of Appeal that the single judge has refused Ched Evans's application for leave to appeal against his conviction for rape," read a statement from Evans's lawyers Brabners Chaffe Street.
"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 released by the Blades at the end of last season.