After a backlash and loss of sponsors, Scottish club Raith Rovers have apologised for signing a player who was ruled in 2017 to have raped a woman.
Raith say they are “committed to making things right” after the signing of former Scotland international David Goodwillie three days earlier had prompted a furious reaction.
“We got it wrong,” Raith Rovers chairman John Sim said on Thursday.
Sim stopped short of announcing Goodwillie’s departure from the club but said “the player will not be selected by Raith Rovers and we will enter into discussions with the player regarding his contractual position.”
Goodwillie and an ex-teammate at Dundee United were ordered to pay damages of Stg 100,000 ($A190,000) to a woman they raped, a judge ruled in a civil case in an Edinburgh court in 2017.
No criminal charges were brought against either Goodwillie or David Robertson.
Raith’s decision to sign Goodwillie was condemned as “disgusting and despicable” by Val McDermid, the best-selling novelist who said she would stop sponsoring the team’s home shirts and would be ending her lifelong support of the club.
The captain of Raith’s women’s team, Tyler Rattray, announced she was quitting playing for the team after 10 years because of the signing of Goodwillie.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also gave her support to McDermid and Rattray.
Sim apologised “to our fans, sponsors, players and the wider Raith Rovers community for the anguish and anger caused over the past few days.”
“This very unfortunate episode is something that we all bitterly regret and we are now wholly committed to making things right,” Sim wrote in a statement on the club’s website.
Following a meeting of the board, Sim said, it was decided that Goodwillie won’t play for the club and that they’ll begin contract discussions.
Sim said Raith had “focused far too much on football matters and not enough on what this decision would mean” for the club and the community.
“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,” he said.
“As chairman, as a board and as a management team, we have all learned a hard but valuable lesson.”