Iceland Not As Corrupt As Prime Minister Wants It To Be - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Iceland Not As Corrupt As Prime Minister Wants It To Be

Published September 7, 2015

York Underwood
Photos by
York Underwood / Althingi.is / Grapevine Archives

Last night, Iceland’s national football team made the EuroCup Finals by capturing a tedious tie-game with the glorious nation of Kazakhstan.  Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð took this as an opportunity to test his power with prototypical Icelandic passive-aggressiveness. The Prime Minister told the team that any bar or restaurant would stay open as long as the team liked. He later added that he doesn’t really have the power to promise this, but that he was sure no one would put them to bed.

He didn’t just tell the team in person, a heat-of-the-moment comment while basking in the almost non-victory of his nation’s team. He posted an account of the exchange on his Facebook account:

Congratulations on experiencing one of the biggest days in Icelandic, I mean European, sports history ...so far! Now I regret not being able to guarantee everyone a day off with short notice for due cause. Actually I told the national team boys after the game that every restaurant and bar would stay open for them tonight as long as they want. Later I realized that I probably didn't have the formal authority to do that ...but I don't assume that anyone will try to force them to bed.

“Congratulations on experiencing one of the biggest days in Icelandic, I mean European, sports history …so far! Now I regret not having ensured that the Prime Minister has the power to guarantee everyone a day off with short notice for due cause. Actually, I told the national team boys after the game that every restaurant and bar would stay open for them tonight as long as they want. In retrospect, I  probably didn’t have the formal authority to do that, either… but I don’t assume that anyone will try to force them to bed.”

Unlike Italy, a different I-nation, Iceland doesn’t operate at the whim and fancy of powerful men, always.

According to Nútíminn, the police didn’t listen to the Prime Minister’s wishes–shutting down the team’s party at a reasonable 1:30 am, which was taking place at the nightclub B5. It is unclear whether the police also put the players to bed.

In fairness, the Prime Minister was showing a solidarity and revelry with the national team, which almost falls into the category of adorable. However, the team’s choice of afterparty location gives frightening insights into their tactical thinking. Granted, the team probably wanted a high-to-overwhelming population of Skinkas (tanned gym females), but this desire created an error in judgement when they chose a bar with gigantic windows on Reykjavík’s busiest street. An error in judgement caused by brash decision making, not unlike Aron Einar Gunnarson’s late-in-the-game red card.


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