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Nicola Sturgeon backs Val McDermid over decision to cut ties with Raith Rovers over David Goodwillie transfer

Nicola Sturgeon condemns David Goodwillie signing
Nicola Sturgeon condemns David Goodwillie signing

Nicola Sturgeon has backed writer Val McDermid’s decision to end her lifelong support for Raith Rovers over the Fife club’s controversial signing of David Goodwillie.

The first minister said there must be “zero tolerance” for sexual violence and hailed the author and club sponsor for her “principled” stance.

The Championship side sparked widespread anger after snapping up Goodwillie, who was branded a rapist in a 2017 civil court case, from Clyde.

Ms Sturgeon also praised women’s team captain Tyler Rattray who quit the club in disgust over the transfer deadline day deal.

The SNP leader wrote on Twitter: “The stances that @valmcdermid and women’s team captain @Tyler_RattrayX have taken are principled, though difficult for both of them.

Author Val McDermid.

“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.”

The first minister was joined in her condemnation of the Goodwillie signing by Rape Crisis Scotland and leading politicians across the country.

The charity said they were “deeply disappointed” by Raith’s decision and accused Rovers of “disregarding” rape survivors.

In a statement, they wrote: “We are surprised and deeply disappointed that Raith Rovers FC are happy to send such a clear message of disregard to survivors of rape and sexual violence in signing David Goodwillie.

“Fundamentally – though it seems Raith FC do not agree – women’s lives are more important than men’s talent or careers.

David Goodwillie.

“We wonder whether those who took this decision thought for a second about how it may look or feel to survivors to have to watch someone judged to have committed rape be celebrated and applauded.

“This was a bad decision that sends entirely the wrong message, and it should be withdrawn.”

SNP Westminster deputy leader Kirsten Oswald also backed McDermid’s decision to step away from supporting the club.

Fans ‘right to be angry’

Meanwhile, Fife Labour MSP Claire Baker said Raith fans were “right to be angry” as she urged the club to perform a U-turn on the transfer.

Fife Tory MSP Liz Smith said the signing was “deeply misguided” and said Goodwillie had “shown no remorse” for his actions.

And Lib Dem MP Wendy Chamberlain slammed Rovers for “an appalling decision”.

A judge ruled in 2017 Goodwillie and former team-mate David Robertson raped Denise Clair.

They were ordered to pay £100,000 in damages to Ms Clair after the case had been dropped by a criminal court.

For support in relation to sexual assault, you can contact Rape Crisis Scotland on 08088 01 03 02 everyday from 6pm to midnight. Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline is open 24/7, you can call their helpline on 0800 027 1234.

David Goodwillie: Key questions about case that saw Raith Rovers striker branded rapist

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