Raith Rovers: Val McDermid promises to not return to Fife club while David Goodwillie stays on payroll
Scottish crime writer Val McDermid has said she will not return to Raith Rovers whilst David Goodwillie, ruled a rapist by a civil court, is being paid by the club.
The award-winning author, speaking during a McDermid Ladies match at the weekend, said she would not return while the executives who signed him were in charge.
Ms McDermid has also called for an independent regulator to make checks on professional footballers.
She told the BBC she thinks there should be a register of who can play as she said there was a “fit and proper person” regulation with ownership, but “there is nothing about who is actually on the pitch”.
The writer’s comments come after Denise Clair, the woman who was raped by Goodwillie, told The Sunday Post that football’s silence allowed the player to continue his career.
Ms McDermid was a life-long Raith Rovers supporter and director, as well as their main shirt sponsor. However, she has said this sponsorship deal will now end.
The writer gave the former Raith Rovers women’s team – McDermid Ladies – her backing on Sunday in their first match since distancing themselves from club.
At their debut match in Fife on Sunday afternoon, Ms McDermid said she was “heartbroken” by the Goodwillie signing, but had been "uplifted and amazed" by the support for those who took a stand.
Following public uproar at the signing of 32-year-old Goodwillie, the Fife club has since admitted it was a mistake to sign him and that he would not be playing in any matches.
Raith Rovers said they are currently reviewing his contract.
In 2017, Goodwillie and a former team-mate David Robertson were ruled by a judge in a civil case to have raped Ms Clair after a night out in Bathgate.
Ms Clair, 30, said the Scottish football authorities’ silence “deafened” her, adding: “It’s shameful they have allowed Goodwillie to continue playing all these years.
"They are just as complicit as him and Robertson with their silence and looking the other way.
“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.”
Nicola Sturgeon and former prime minister Gordon Brown were among prominent figures who joined Ms McDermid in condemning the club.
But Ms Clair said the backlash had come too late.
“He has never stopped playing,” she said.
“He was picked for Clyde four days after judges rejected his appeal and confirmed he raped me.
"That was four years ago and that is when people should have been outraged and scandalised.
“I have to ask why it has taken so long for people to stand up and say all the things that are now being said? This is about more than him. It is about sexism and misogyny and women being listened to and having their voices heard.”