Glasgow Clan have suspended their head coach and chief executive after the club signed a player accused of rape.
The ice hockey club announced the signing of Finnish defenceman Lasse Uusivirta on Thursday, only to later make a u-turn after a furious backlash from fans who had researched the player’s history.
Clan then issued a statement on Friday morning saying that chief executive Gareth Chalmers and head coach Malcolm Cameron were being suspended with immediate effect while the circumstances of the signing are investigated.
Uusivirta was arrested and charged with first-degree rape in 2013 while a student at the University of Alabama in Hunstville.
The player then fled the country, returning to his native Finland, and while prosecutors said that they would not seek to have him returned to USA to face justice, the charge would be remain awaiting his return.
An interview with Uusivirta filmed by Clan following his signing showed that the club were aware of his background, but gave a different account of the circumstances.
Club media officer Craig Anderson said to the player: “Earlier in your life, in your career, something that happened roughly ten years ago, there was an incident that allegedly took place in North America.
“I’m in no way going to go into any details about what happened or what didn’t happen, that’s not what we’re here to do.”
He added: “But you were absolutely cleared of any charges, let’s be clear on that.”
All mention of Uusivirta has now been removed from Clan’s website and replaced on Friday morning with a statement from club chairman Neil Black.
He said: “At 1945 last night. I was made aware for the first time of a major situation which merits further internal investigation and this has led to the immediate suspension of both the Clan chief executive Gareth Chalmers and the Clan head coach Malcolm Cameron.”