North Lanarkshire Council has informed Clyde FC that David Goodwillie must not be permitted access to their stadium in Cumbernauld.
The local authority, which directly owns Broadwood Stadium, had been conducting a review of all its commercial partnership arrangements with Clyde following the club’s decision to bring back Goodwillie on loan from Raith Rovers.
Goodwillie, 32, was found by a judge in a civil case in 2017 to have raped a woman.
In a statement released on Thursday, North Lanarkshire Council said: “We have informed the club that David Goodwillie must not be permitted access to the stadium, for any purpose, with immediate effect.
“Should Mr Goodwillie enter the stadium, we will consider the contract to have been breached and we will take immediate steps to terminate it.
“In addition, we have informed Clyde FC that the council intends not to renew the lease with the club when the contract for the use of Broadwood Stadium expires in May, 2023.
“The council utterly condemns all and any violence towards, or abuse of, women. We offer a range of services to support women who experience abuse, through Rape Crisis Lanarkshire and Aura, and we would urge anyone in this position to make contact.
“The council believes in rehabilitation, and has services which provide this. However, Mr Goodwillie has not expressed any contrition in relation to the rape which the court found he had committed in the civil action against him. In re-signing Mr Goodwillie, Clyde FC has not acknowledged that background or community concerns, instead choosing to focus on enabling Mr Goodwillie to play football.
“We regret that this action is necessary. However, the council has a responsibility to the wider community to act, and to send a clear signal that abuse must not be tolerated.
“We also note that some people have questioned why the council is only taking action now given that Mr Goodwillie has played for Clyde for a number of years.
“For clarity, the stadium was previously under the control of North Lanarkshire Leisure Ltd which, while previously paid by the council for management of a range of services and facilities, is a separate legal entity. The council was unable to direct the company in relation to this matter. The stadium, and all the services of the company, have reverted to direct council control.”
The decision by North Lanarkshire Council comes after Raith Rovers sparked a furore by signing Goodwillie on transfer deadline day in January.
As a result of the move, several prominent supporters, directors and sponsors, including high-profile author Val McDermid, withdrew their backing of Raith while two of the six club directors quit.
Raith subsequently apologised, confirming Goodwillie would not be playing for them and they reviewed the forward’s contractual position, having signed a two-and-a-half year deal, as well the composition of their board.
On Tuesday, Clyde announced Goodwillie would now be spending the rest of the campaign back at Broadwood. He spent five years at the club before signing for Raith and served as the club’s captain.
“Following an initial approach by Raith Rovers, and subsequent agreement between the two clubs, we can confirm that David Goodwillie has returned to Broadwood on loan until the end of the 2021-22 season,” a Clyde club statement read.
“This enables David to return to first-team activities including training and playing and, in doing so, continue his career in football at the current time.”
A brief statement from Raith read: “The club can confirm that we have agreed terms with Clyde FC for a loan arrangement for David Goodwillie until the end of the current season.
“We would like to thank Clyde FC for their co-operation.”
McDermid quickly responded to the loan move, tweeting: “Disgusted doesn’t even begin to touch it. All that mealy-mouthed stuff from the board about contract-ending negotiations? Do @RaithRovers think we’ll all have forgotten about this by the end of the season?”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon labelled the return move “as wrong as the signing by Raith Rovers” and added: “I strongly support rehabilitation but it must start with remorse. Someone who has shown none for the trauma he caused cannot be a sporting role model.”
Sturgeon also shared a post from Rape Crisis Scotland describing the transfer as “a shameful decision that sends yet another clear message of disregard to survivors of rape and sexual violence”.
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