In the wake of the continuing controversy involving the Icelandic Football Association (KSÍ), sexual assaults reportedly committed by some of their players, and the subsequent cover-up that ensued, footballer Kolbeinn Sigþórsson—the player who had assaulted Þórhildur Gyða Arnarsdóttir in 2017—has released a statement to the press.
The full statement is as follows:
In the past few years of my life I have not been headed where I wanted. I was severely injured, and my career was in danger. During this time my inappropriate behaviour became problematic. Arnarsdóttir has stepped forward and told her side of an incident between us at the club B5 in Reykjavik in the autumn of 2017. The following spring, I met with Arnarsdóttir and her friend to hear their side of what happened.
I did not recognise having harassed them, nor did I recognise having resorted to violence and I declined any guilt. My behaviour was however not exemplary, for which I apologized. I regretted that, accepted responsibility and offered to settle the incident between us. Arnarsdóttir and her friend demanded an apology and a payment. I accepted their demands and additionally paid three million ISK to the non-governmental organisation Stígamót, in recognition of their important work on behalf of survivors of sexual violence.
This concluded the incident. The Football Association of Iceland (KSÍ) was informed of the proceedings and the conclusion of the matter but the association’s denial in Icelandic media recently has led to Arnarsdóttir feeling she was being robbed of her closure by the association. I can understand that.
I still regret my behaviour during this time and can categorically state that I oppose any form of violence. I am to this day still working on improving my behaviour.
As reported, the scandal has already led to former director Guðni Bergsson resigning, followed by the entire board of KSÍ, and today’s announcement that KSÍ managing director Klara Bjartmarz has gone on leave.
Þórhildur spoke candidly about the assault last week, uncovering a culture of violence within the club.
She told RÚV that she was in a club one night in September 2017 when a famed member of the national football team reportedly grabbed her crotch, and would later grab her by the neck and an assault then occurred involving another individual. After being treated for her injuries, she filed a report with the police the following day, with another woman who was also assaulted by the same person.
While nothing came of the police investigation, six months later, Þórhildur’s father intended to participate in a friendly match that would involve Þórhildur’s assailant. He emailed KSÍ about the matter, and both of Þórhildur’s parents were reportedly contacted by Guðni. Þórhildur’s father also contacted the President of Iceland over the matter, who responded by saying that he had spoken with the KSÍ director and brought this up as well.
Þórhildur says she was contacted by a lawyer for KSÍ, who offered that she meet with the board.
“He asked whether I was ready to sign a non-disclosure agreement and receive monetary restitution,” Þórhildur said. “And I naturally said no. I still received another phone call from another lawyer who invited me to a meeting where the national team member wanted to apologise.” The footballer in question reportedly “denied nothing. He apologised and admitted what he did to me. He cast doubt on nothing.”
It would later be revealed that Kolbeinn was the player in question.
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