Police have launched an investigation over allegations Olympic athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill has been bombarded with abusive messages online after speaking out in a rape row over a soccer star.

The gold medal-winning heptathlete has close connections with British sporting side Sheffield United and her name adorns a stand at the club's home stadium.

Bosses of the side have been under fire this month (Nov14) after it emerged a former player, Ched Evans, is to be given back his place in the squad following his release from a five-year prison sentence for rape.

Ennis-Hill stepped into the row this week (ends16Nov14) by stating she would demand her name is removed from the stadium if Evans returns to the club, but she has since been bombarded with foul and abusive messages on Twitter.com, including a threat of rape.

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Police has confirmed officers have launched a probe into the messages.