From Iceland — KSÍ Board Resigns Amid Controversy

KSÍ Board Resigns Amid Controversy

Published August 31, 2021

Desirai Thompson
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The Icelandic Football Association (KSÍ) has been under massive public pressure due to mishandling and denial of sexual assault allegations among its footballers. Director Guðni Bergsson stepped down on August 29th. Now, KSÍ’s board, deputies and regional representatives have resigned as well, according to an announcement from the organisation.

Yesterday’s meeting

KSÍ convened a meeting yesterday at 17:00 where, in addition to agreeing to resignations, a working group was announced which will review the responses to the sexual offence allegations wherein victim’s support will be a priority. An extraordinary session will be convened in the next four weeks to discuss next steps–further information on that will be released in the coming days.

Additionally, the president of Íslensk Toppfótbolti worked with the board regarding the current situation and to create a plan so that KSÍ’s activities remain uninterrupted in the interim until the extraordinary session takes place.

Elections to KSÍ’s Board of Directors were meant to take place on February 27, 2022.

Alarming allegations, widespread denial

Þórhildur Gyða Arnarsdóttir told RÚV that a member of the national team grabbed her inappropriately by the crotch and neck at a club in September 2017. The same man allegedly assaulted another woman the same evening who reported the incident to police the next day, along with Þórhildur.

The police investigation ultimately led nowhere. It was only after Þórhildur’s father reached out to both KSÍ and the President of Iceland after he was expected to participate in a match with the man that she was invited to meet with the board.

In the meeting, the accused footballer denied nothing, but ultimately only offered an apology and monetary compensation in exchange for the signing of a non-disclosure agreement, which she declined. Speaking with Vísir, Þórhildur said she knows of six or seven current and former players who have been accused of sexual assault.

KSÍ has been under fire for mishandling the numerous sexual assault claims while director Guðni Bergsson is in especially hot water for denying that they ever received reports of these offences perpetrated by national team members to begin with. Trust in KSÍ has dramatically fallen and many feel they have proven themselves incompetent.

Changes are needed

Íslenskur toppfótbolti, a special interests group in football has stated that KSÍ should shoulder responsibility and Lilja Alfreðsdóttir, the Minister of Culture has lent her voice in urging the need for changes to be made.

Vísir reports that Landsbankinn has joined the ranks of organisations challenging KSÍ to take responsibility and clean up its act, having called a meeting with the board and the CEO. Preceding them, Coca-Cola, N-1 and Icelandair have all taken KSÍ to task for these revelations.

Þórhildur has said she hoped to not only see KSÍ retain a whole new, but that the accused players face criminal charges and be removed from the national team as well.

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