Woman raped by David Goodwillie condemns football authorities for ‘silence’

Denise Clair spoke for the first time since a backlash against Raith Rovers saw the club confirm Goodwillie would not play for them after all.

Katrine Bussey
Sunday 06 February 2022 16:00
Denise Clair hit out at the footballing authorities for allowing David Goodwillie to continue playing after a court ruled he had raped her (Jeff Holmes/PA)
Denise Clair hit out at the footballing authorities for allowing David Goodwillie to continue playing after a court ruled he had raped her (Jeff Holmes/PA)

It is “shameful” that David Goodwillie was allowed to continue playing football after being found by a court to have committed rape, the woman he assaulted said.

Denise Clair hit out at the footballing authorities, accusing them of being “complicit” with their “silence”.

Ms Clair, 30, spoke out for the first time since Raith Rovers’ signing of the player sparked a furious backlash from fans – with author and club sponsor Val McDermid and former prime minister Gordon Brown amongst those criticising the club.

The signing also saw the ladies’ team break their ties with the club, with their team – now known as the McDermid Ladies – playing their first match on Sunday backed by the best-selling crime writer.

Raith Rovers eventually backed down and announced on Thursday Goodwillie will not play for them after all, with chairman John Sim conceding they “got it wrong” when they signed the 32-year-old.

At a civil case at the Court of Session in Edinburgh in 2017, Goodwillie and his former Dundee United team-mate, David Robertson, were judged to have raped Ms Clair and ordered to pay her damages of £100,000.

Robertson has since retired from professional football.

No criminal charges had been brought against either of them.

Goodwillie had joined Championship team Raith Rovers from Scottish League One side Clyde FC, where he had been a player for five years.

It's shameful they have allowed Goodwillie to continue playing all these years without taking any action

Denise Clair

But Ms Clair criticised the footballing authorities over their stance, saying: “Their silence deafened me.”

She told the Sunday Post newspaper: “It’s shameful they have allowed Goodwillie to continue playing all these years without taking any action. They are just as complicit as him and Robertson with their silence and looking the other way.”

She insisted: “It is not enough for the footballing authorities, the league, the SFA (Scottish Football Association) to stay silent on this.

“They talk so much about equality and respect but when faced with actual reality instead of waffle, their silence deafened me.

“There needs to be officials who do nothing but ensure players and clubs are properly made aware of their responsibilities.

“They should be developing educational programmes about sexual violence. Practical measures, not warm words about nothing, could promote real change.”

The SFA have been contacted for comment.

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