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2 Feb, 2022 13:02

Female footballer quits after team signs player who was ruled a rapist

Raith Rovers' women's captain took her stance after David Goodwillie was brought in on deadline day
Female footballer quits after team signs player who was ruled a rapist

The captain of Raith Rovers' women's football team has quit the club after its men's counterpart signed a player who was sued for rape in 2017.

Tyler Rattray made her announcement via Twitter on Tuesday in response to David Goodwillie being brought in on deadline day. 

"After 10 long years playing for Raith, it’s gutting I have given up now because they have signed someone like this and I want nothing to do with it!" Rattray wrote.

"It was good being captain of Raith while it lasted."

Rattray's decision follows anger from fans and employees of the club after the former Clyde man was officially brought in to end weeks of speculation that triggered concerns.

One of the most prominent critics of the signing of Goodwillie is famous supporter and feminist Val McDermid, who said that the thought of Goodwillie donning Raith Rovers' shirt made her feel "physically sick"

"I have this morning ended my lifelong support of Raith Rovers over their signing of the rapist David Goodwillie," the 17-million copy-selling author revealed on Twitter.

"I have canceled next season’s shirt sponsorship over this disgusting and despicable move. This shatters any claim to be a community or family club," McDermid continued. 

"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," she concluded.

Along with a fellow footballer, David Robertson, Goodwillie was sued for damages for rape by Denise Clair in 2017.

As part of a landmark case where the victim waived her right to anonymity, the accused weren't prosecuted yet a civil court ruled that the pair had raped Clair following a night out in West Lothian in 2011 which saw her awarded £100,000 ($135,000) in damages.

Goodwillie and Robertson denied the allegation and lost an appeal against the judgment.

Yet despite this and the backlash that has come amid the signing, Raith have stood by Goodwillie.

"As announced on our website last night, Raith Rovers FC can confirm that we have signed David Goodwillie from Clyde FC," began a statement.

"David is a proven goal scorer, and this will be his second stint with the club, having previously played for us on loan from Dundee United during season 2007-08," it continued.

"As with all new signings, the club has carefully considered our position as a Community Club and we completely respect the differing views among fans and stakeholders, many of whom we have spoken to directly in the past 24 hours and are continuing to engage with.

"As David has previously played for Raith Rovers earlier in his career, we consider him to be part of the Raith Rovers Football Club. The management team is familiar with David's career and background and – in particular – his footballing ability. That is our foremost consideration, and we believe that he will strengthen the Raith Rovers playing squad.

"Please be assured that as a community football club we fully acknowledge this signing has divided opinion amongst our loyal fans and commercial stakeholders; we aim to rebuild that trust.

"While acknowledging the gravity of what happened ten years ago, as a club we fully support and encourage rehabilitation, and many factors influenced our signing. But first and foremost, this was a football-related decision," Raith concluded.

Other figures to step down from their roles at the club or cut ties with it include former chairman and director of youth development and community development Bill Clark, supporter liaison officer Margie Robertson, stadium announcer Johnny Macdonald and midfielder Georgia Spry.

"Gutted I no longer have a club to play for but as long as he puts on that shirt I won’t," wrote Spry on Twitter.

"Loved my time at Raith but guess it’s time for a new chapter."

Also on the social media network, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon voiced her support for Rattray and McDermid for taking "principled" stances that were difficult for them.

"But the fact they’re in this position at all reminds us that our society still has a way to go to make zero tolerance of sexual violence a reality," Sturgeon added.

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