Raith Rovers have apologised and performed a U-turn over their controversial decision to sign David Goodwillie earlier this week.
The 32-year-old, who was found by a judge in a civil case in 2017 to have raped a woman, signed for the cinch Championship club from League 1 side Clyde on a two-and-a-half-year contract on Monday.
Several prominent supporters, directors and sponsors, including high-profile author Val McDermid, withdrew their backing of the club as a result.
CLUB STATEMENT | Raith Rovers have released the following statement regarding David Goodwillie, to confirm that the player will not represent the club.— RRFC Official (@RaithRovers) February 3, 2022
However, Rovers have now admitted they “got it wrong” and announced their intention to cancel Goodwillie’s contract.
A statement on the club’s website on Thursday morning attributed to chairman John Sim read: “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.
“We got it wrong.”
The statement acknowledged that Rovers had put football success over morals and their community ethos.
It continued: “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.”
Moves are now afoot to cancel Goodwillie’s contract.
The statement concluded: “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.”
McDermid, whose name is on the club’s shirts and on one of their stands, said the climbdown was “just the first step on a long road back”.
In a short statement posted on her Twitter feed, she said: “I welcome this (unsigned) statement from Raith Rovers. It’s a victory of sorts for the hundreds of people who MAKE the club who were appalled at the board’s original decision and who were not afraid to speak out. But it’s just the first step on a long road back.
“The same people who made the decision are still in charge. Those who love and value the club are still on the outside; they need to be on the inside, shaping the future for the community.”
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