Glasgow Clan: Club put up for sale after backlash to toxic signing

The owner of Glasgow Clan is set to put the ice hockey club up for sale after the toxic signing of a player linked to an allegation of rape sparked a huge backlash.
Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Neil Black said he would also explore the opportunity for a broader ownership group.

The businessman, who is also Clan’s chairman, extended an apology for the trauma of the past seven days which engulfed the club - but he also said he was “extremely disappointed that any supporter of the club or sponsor is wavering in their support.”

Over the last 48 hours, six key sponsors, including title sponsor Aspray Glasgow West - all run by fans of the club and the sport - suspended their support in the wake of the toxic signing of Finnish player Lasse Uusivirta.

Pic: Al GooldPic: Al Goold
Pic: Al Goold

The 33-year old was at the centre of a rape allegation in 2013 while playing hockey at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

He returned to his native Finland. The BBC has since reported that a grand jury declined to proceed with the case.

Read More
Glasgow Clan: Sixth sponsor suspend deal after signing of player linked to rape ...

Uusivirta has continued to play in Germany, Austria, Denmark and Italy, but his arrival in Glasgow last Thursday sparked a huge backlash - drawing parallels with the chaos that engulfed Raith Rovers after its signing of David Goodwillie.

Malcolm Cameron, head coach (Pic: Al Goold)Malcolm Cameron, head coach (Pic: Al Goold)
Malcolm Cameron, head coach (Pic: Al Goold)

It led to the suspension and re-instatement of head coach Malcolm Cameron, while the future of chief executive, Gareth Chalmers remains unclear after an internal investigation.

The club’s comms officer, Craig Anderson, resigned today, while Gerry McLaughlin, commercial director - one of the stalwarts of the club - also quit, although he stressed it was not in direct response to the controversy.

All six sponsors directly criticised the club’s handling of the signing, which was scrapped within hours of being revealed, and Black’s response to the growing crisis.

The owner said he was “profoundly sorry about everything that has happened.”

He said an “incredibly complex situation” with potential legal issues meant his hands were tied “which prevents me from saying what I want to say or do.”

But he appeared to bite back at the sponsors and fans who moved quickly to distance themselves from the controversy.

Mr Black hit out: “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.”

The chairman said he wanted to “extend an open hand” to Clan’s sponsors and pledged to contact them all.

He added: “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 re-pledge 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.

“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.”

Related topics: