Football fans have been encouraged to support the women’s game “in the way it deserves” in the wake of controversy over Raith Rovers’ signing of David Goodwillie.
On Thursday, the club issued an apology over the signing and said the striker would not play for the side, after a week in which a number of people at the club, including the women’s team captain, resigned, whilst sponsors pulled out and voices from across society condemned the move.
The Raith Rovers women’s team also split from the club, with a view to creating their own identity, minus the club’s crest.
And fan launched a fundraiser for Rape Crisis Scotland as a counter-action to the signing of Goodwillie, who was ordered to pay £100,000 in damages by a judge in a civil court case in 2017 after it was ruled that he raped a woman at a flat in West Lothian.
Aileen Campbell, the chief executive of Scottish Women’s Football said the move by the club to opt not to play Goodwillie, as well as reviewing his contact, was a “positive first step”.
But, she indicated there is an “awful lot of work” for the club to do in order to restore trust.
“It’s a first step, a positive first step, but it is only a first step,” she told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme.
“I think there are relationships to repair for the club and a lot of trust to rebuild.
“I think you could sense the feeling across the community when you heard on the news or on social media just how upset people felt about this decision.
“And of course, there were the numbers of resignations from the club as well.
“So, I think there’s an awful lot of work for the club to do, but my priority and Scottish women’s football’s priority is to make sure that we stand ready to be there to help and support the women’s team in any way that we can.”
Campbell said that the outpouring of support and solidarity shown to the Raith Rovers women’s team was “overwhelming”.
And she indicated that the incident with David Goodwillie could provide a platform for people to give the women’s game greater respect.
She said: “When Raith Rovers put out their statement saying that they had signed David Goodwillie for a football reason, they failed to recognise that the football consequence for their women’s team was that they had the resignation of their captain.
“So, I think there’s clearly a need for clubs across the country to really think about the decisions that they take and to really think about how they support and respect their women’s teams.
“I think the outpouring of support and solidarity to the women’s team was palpable, it was overwhelming, I think it gave good heart to the team to give them encouragement, so too I think the outpouring of solidarity to Val McDermid.”
She added: “I think now what we need to do is think about how we move forward and for me it’s about making sure that we use this as a time and a platform to really promote and show what the women’s game can do.
“And to really encourage people to respect and support it in the way it deserves.”