Athugið þessi frétt er meira en 1 ára gömul.

PM reacts to KSÍ scandal

31.08.2021 - 15:05
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: Þór Ægisson - RÚV
Sexual abuse allegations against several former and current men’s national team footballers in Iceland have thrown KSÍ, the national football association, into crisis. The association stands accused of doing little to address the problems, and even of actively covering up allegations of abuse.

The board of KSÍ has now stepped down and Iceland’s education, culture and sport minister has promised help to promote positive change in football. The country’s prime minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, spoke to RÚV about the unfolding scandal after the cabinet meeting today.

What do you think of this series of events surrounding KSÍ in recent days?

It is of course very sad to see that it has really taken all this to kick this series of events into motion. At the same time, I also express my great admiration for the victims who have stepped forth and told their stories. I also express my respect for the decision of the board of KSÍ to step aside now and thereby give the opportunity and flexibility to re-examine this issue and the working practices around this issue within the movement. It can be said that I hope this will be a learning curve for the football movement, as it has been for so many sectors of society; as we have seen in recent years how big of an issue sexual harassment and sexual abuse is in society. And we have come to that place as a society that we do not want this to be tolerated, and for the football movement this is especially important because it reaches into nearly every home in the country, and so it is incredibly important for a movement that has such an influence on the upbringing of our children, for example, like the football movement, that this matter is dealt with decisively.

Do you think the board of KSÍ has dealt with things correctly?

Well, they have now stepped aside, and, as I said, I respect that decision. They want to give the movement flexibility to examine these matters from the bottom up, and I think that’s needed. A grassroots re-evaluation is needed of how the movement deals with these sorts of cases.

Do you think it’s necessary for the managing director to step down too? 

It is not the prime minister’s place to say how these things are dealt with by independent organisations like the football association. What I say, on the other hand, is that we are in a position when sweeping sexual harassment and abuse to one side will no longer be tolerated. And that is important for us all, as members of the public in this country, that this important movement that means so much to all of us should show through its actions that it takes these things seriously. 

The education minister has a meeting with KSÍ today. Will you be meeting with the KSI board?

No, I don’t have any planned meeting with them. But now, the movement is organising a conference [to elect a new board] and it has been important, I think, that there are players and coaches across the whole country who are stepping forward in a very decisive way and speaking out clearly against gender-based and sexual abuse.

Have you been invited to the upcoming national team games? 

Yes, probably. I actually don’t know! But I am very likely invited. 

And will you turn up?

I haven’t taken any decision about that yet; entirely because I’m attending to the [parliamentary] election campaign.

Click to follow RÚV English on Facebook.