From Iceland — Football Association Apology Falls Flat, Calls For Resignation Grow, Protest Planned

Football Association Apology Falls Flat, Calls For Resignation Grow, Protest Planned

Published August 30, 2021

Photo by
Helge Høifødt/Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday’s apology from the Icelandic Football Association (KSÍ), and the resignation of their now former director, Guðni Bergsson, has not been widely regarded as doing enough in the wake of recent news that several players for the men’s national team have reportedly committed sexual assaults.

Vísir has now confirmed that Kolbeinn Sigþórsson has been taken off the team, and was specifically the player who assaulted Þórhildur Gyða Arnarsdóttir in 2017.

The removal of this player and KSÍ’s director, and a written apology, have not gone far enough to rectify the situation. This is especially the case as KSÍ’s board still denies knowing anything about the assaults, despite copies of an email sent by Þórhildur’s father in 2018 showing that he had directly addressed both Guðni and KSÍ managing director Klara Bjartmarz.

Steinunn Gyðu- og Guðjónsdóttir, spokesperson for the sexual assault survivor’s resource centre Stígamót, told RÚV that while these were first steps, “Someone needs to take responsibility for that which has now been made public, that the email sent to KSÍ informing them of Þórhildur’s case … had been sent to Guðni and other employees of KSÍ.”

Íslenskur Toppfótbolti, a special interest group representing top men’s and women’s football teams in Iceland, sent a statement saying that the board should hold snap elections for new members. They express a lack of trust in the current board to uproot the problem of violence within their ranks.

Meanwhile, Bleiki fíllinn and Öfgar, two groups that fight against violence against women, will be holding a protest demonstration at Laugardalsvöll, one of Reykjavík’s football arenas, this Thursday at 17:00. While their statement did not include exactly where the protest will be held, it does imply through both the time and date that it will take place before a national team match on that day.

“We need to uproot this toxic culture,” their statement reads in part. “This will not be done with the same board that has maintained it. Icelandic football, and survivors, deserve better.”

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