RAITH ROVERS’ women’s team have cut ties with the men’s side following the signing of rapist David Goodwillie.
It comes after the club defended the decision to sign Goodwillie from Clyde.
A petition with more than 2,000 signatures has already been started in a bid to force Rovers to get rid of Goodwillie.
And bestselling crime novelist Val McDermid has withdrawn her sponsorship from the club, instead opting to sponsor the women’s team who will wear shirts without the Raith Rovers crest.
Denise Clair, 30, claimed Goodwillie and David Robertson raped her at a flat in Armadale, West Lothian, after a night out in nearby Bathgate on January 2, 2011.
The two footballers have never faced criminal trial over the allegations as the charges were dropped in July that year.
But in a civil ruling on the case on January 17, 2017, heard at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, Lord Armstrong said Goodwillie and Robertson “each raped her”.
Ms Clair sued striker Goodwillie and his then Dundee United colleague Robertson after being left “devastated” by a Crown decision not to prosecute.
She waived her right to anonymity.
Robertson and Goodwillie were told to pay £100,000 in damages.
Defending their decision to sign Goodwillie, Rovers released a statement on Tuesday which read: “As announced on our website last night, Raith Rovers FC can confirm that we have signed David Goodwillie from Clyde FC.
“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.
“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 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.
“First and foremost, this was a football related decision.”
On Wednesday, Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said: “What it effectively seemed to be saying was it didn’t matter how a man treated a woman, the only thing that mattered to them was whether he could score goals for the football club.”
“Football players are role models and football clubs have a responsibility to make sure they are positive role models for the wee boys and the wee girls who look up to them.
“This is a player who was found in a civil court, albeit on the balance of probabilities, to have raped a woman and as far as I’m aware has not shown any remorse or reflection for that.
“Raith Rovers really do have to reflect on the message that sends.”
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown also condemned the signing.
Raith Rovers Women’s match on Sunday will be played away from Stark Park at another ground in the town.
Meanwhile, Rovers fan Martin Glass has set up a fundraising page for Rape Crisis Scotland and already raised almost £9,000.