David Goodwillie: Raith Rovers confirm they won’t select rapist footballer in U-turn after backlash

The Scottish Championship signed Goodwillie, who was ruled by a judge in civil court in 2017 to have raped a woman, from Clyde and handed him a contract until 2024

Sports Staff
Thursday 03 February 2022 11:18
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Raith Rovers have confirmed they will not consider David Goodwillie for selection after the signficant backlash to his signing.

Crime writer Val McDermid ended her shirt sponsorship while first minister Nicola Sturgeon criticised the move and a number of supporters withdrew their backing for the club.

The Scottish Championship club paid Clyde for Goodwillie, who was ruled by a judge in civil court in 2017 to have raped a woman, and handed the 32-year-old a contract until 2024.

But following the backlash the club admitted on Thursday they had “got it wrong” and won’t select the player with discussions set to commence over the remainder of his contract.

“I firstly want to apologise wholeheartedly to our fans, sponsors, players and the wider Raith Rovers community for the anguish and anger caused over the past few days,” chairman John Sim said in a statement.

“We got it wrong. In reaching our original decision, we focused far too much on football matters and not enough on what this decision would mean for our club and the community as a whole.

“Over the past couple of days, we listened carefully to the fans who have got in touch and I’m very grateful for their honesty. As chairman, as a board and as a management team, we have all learned a hard but valuable lesson.

“This very unfortunate episode is something that we all bitterly regret and we are now wholly committed to making things right. I can therefore confirm that, following a meeting of the Raith Rovers board, the player will not be selected by Raith Rovers and we will enter into discussions with the player regarding his contractual position.

“We share a desire to do what is best for our club and will be doing everything in our power to regain the trust and confidence of the Raith Rovers family.”

At a civil case at the Court of Session in Edinburgh in 2017, Goodwillie and his former Dundee United team-mate David Robertson were ordered to pay damages of £100,000 to a woman they had raped, a judge ruled. No criminal charges had been brought against either of them.

The former Blackburn and Aberdeen striker left Plymouth in the wake of the ruling and has played for Clyde in Scotland’s lower two divisions since then, hitting 109 goals in 176 appearances.

McDermid, a former Raith director whose name adorns the club’s home shirts, had warned against the signing several weeks ago.

The novelist, who has sold more than 17 million books, wrote on Twitter earlier this week: “I have this morning ended my lifelong support of Raith Rovers over their signing of the rapist David Goodwillie.

“I have cancelled next season’s shirt sponsorship over this disgusting and despicable move. This shatters any claim to be a community or family club. Goodwillie has never expressed a shred of remorse for the rape he committed. His presence at Starks Park is a stain on the club.

“I’ll be tearing up my season ticket too. This is a heartbreaker for me and many other fans, I know.”

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