The chairman of Glasgow Clan has announced that he has put the club up for sale following the controversy regarding a decision to sign an alleged rapist.
Neil Black announced the last week at the club had been the “lowest of the low” following the signing of Finnish defenceman Lasse Uusivirta, only to U-turn after a backlash from fans who had researched the player’s history.
Clan later revealed that a general manager will be brought in to replace chief executive Gareth Chalmers while head coach Malcolm Cameron was suspended before being reinstated.
Mr Black, who has been chairman at the club for 12 years, has now released a statement to fans saying “now is the time to explore the opportunity to put the Glasgow Clan up for sale.”
Uusivirta was arrested and charged with first-degree rape in 2013 while a student at the University of Alabama in Hunstville, and though he left the country to return to Finland, US authorities said the charge would await him on his return.
The full statement read: “I have been the very proud Owner and Chairman of the Glasgow Clan for 12 years and in that time we have experienced many highs and lows. Without question, as owner and I’m sure for you as fans, the last week has been the lowest of those lows.
“Let me start properly by saying this – and unequivocally – I am as shocked and appalled at the nature of recent events as you all are. I was only made aware of the situation late last Thursday evening.
“We are profoundly sorry about everything that has happened and I completely appreciate why there is so much anger out there.
“It has been an incredibly complex situation to navigate for many reasons. Some of which you, the fans will be aware of, but there are some factors I have also been legally advised to strongly consider, that you will likely not be aware of and that I have been advised not to speak publicly on.
“I have spoken to various authorities both here in the UK and in the US as I concluded the investigation into what transpired last week and the nature of those events. The decisions I made on the back of that investigation is what I could actually do, without risk of legal reprisals elsewhere. Due to the potential of legal issues, my hands are tied which prevents me from saying what I want to say or do.
“I am extremely disappointed that any supporter of the club or sponsor is wavering in their support. We need every single fan and sponsor. While the team is having a tough time on the ice, anything negative happening off it only exacerbates the difficulties. We of course look forward to supporting charities and causes at the appropriate time, continuing the superb work of the Club over the last twelve years.
“I want to extend an open hand to all of our sponsors. I will be recontacting those who I spoke with prior and will try to contact those next week, who with apologies, I have been unable to contact this week due to the pressing nature of the recent events
“I would also like to take this opportunity to reiterate that from this point moving forwards, there will be a new internal process implemented to all hiring – a process that will end with the Chairman having a full and transparent overview of every single hire we wish to make in the Organisation
“However in light of everything, ultimately as Chairman of the Club, the buck stops with me, the Chairman has to take some responsibility for all the people within the Organisation.
“Bearing that in mind, after 12 years as Owner, now is the time to explore the opportunity to put the Glasgow Clan up for sale or to seek a broader Ownership Group. I believe a new or broader Ownership Group could re-invigorate this fantastic franchise and fanbase. It is what you as fans deserve.
“I want to repledge again what this great club is all about and will be going forwards. Community, Charity, Inclusiveness and coming together as one to support our team in Purple in what is the greatest sport on Earth.
“To end, let me reiterate again my utter revulsion, disappointment, and anger at what transpired last week. Finally while I appreciate and understand the hurt done and feeling, I would like to issue a rallying call to of our fans, sponsors, players and staff, to come together as one, to ensure the continued existence of this great club and to guide it through to an exciting and successful future.”