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Football association preparing for future

22.09.2021 - 14:07
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 Mynd: Mummi Lú
The director of the Icelandic football association, KSÍ, has returned to work, the association has requested an audit of how it reacted to the sexual abuse affair, a potential new chairwoman has stepped forward, and the women’s team loses at home to the Netherlands on a stormy evening.

Back to work

Klara Bjartmarz, the managing director of KSÍ, has returned to work after taking a period of leave following allegations the association had covered for male players accused of sexual abuse or harassment.  

The KSÍ board and chairman Guðni Bergsson all stepped down at the end of August. Guðni had said in a RÚV television interview that no formal notification of sexual abuse perpetrated by any player had ever been received. The following day, Þórhildur Gyða Arnarsdóttir told RÚV a national team player had abused her in 2017 and paid her compensation since. Her parents had been in direct communication with the KSÍ chairman throughout, she said. 

Asking for investigation 

The outgoing board of KSÍ has now requested that the National Olympic and Sports Association of Iceland establish a committee to analyse the football association’s reaction to the crisis. 

A statement calls on the committee to comment on the allegations against current and former players, on the allegations of a cover-up, and on whether there are barriers within KSÍ that hamper the participation of women in football and the national football association. 

In its statement, the board restates its apology to victims and its promise to improve the culture and working environment within football. KSÍ has already appointed expert advisers to help. 

The lawyer working for Kolbeinn Sigþórsson, meanwhile, sent the board a request at the end of August asking members to reverse the decision to exclude his client from the national men’s team squad for the world cup qualifying campaign. This was noted in KSÍ board meeting minutes. The minutes also noted that chairman Guðni Bergsson had requested temporary leave from his position, but that the board did not support the request. Guðni therefore decided to resign instead. 

The KSÍ board decided to remove Kolbeinn from the national team after he was named in connection to Þórhildur Gyða Arnarsdóttir’s case at the end of August. 

The board meeting minutes record that board members decided they had lost the legitimacy to lead after the board of the umbrella association representing top tier football clubs made a declaration of no confidence, along with nine clubs in the second, third, and fourth divisions. The board decided to call an extraordinary general meeting to elect a new board, and to enter into talks with the National Olympic and Sports Association, UEFA, and FIFA to avoid future projects being put in jeopardy.  

New candidate for chair 

Vanda Sigurgeirsdóttir, lecturer in recreational and social studies, and former national team footballer, has decided to stand to be the next chairperson of KSÍ. 

Vanda captained the national women’s team and has coached Icelandic men’s and women’s premier league teams, and the national women’s team. 

The new board and chair will be elected at an EGM on 2nd October. The deadline for candidates is the 25th September. 

Disappointing loss 

In other football news, the national women’s team lost their 2023 world cup qualifier at home against the Netherlands last night. 

Sveindís Jane Jónsdóttir was one of the best Icelandic players on the wet and windy night and says she was happy with the first half, in which Iceland could have scored several goals. She was less happy with the second half. The Netherlands won the match 2-0. 

The Netherlands were runners-up at the last world cup in 2019 and are ranked number four in the world by FIFA. Iceland are ranked 16th in the world. 

Sveindís says the Iceland team is still in development but has a good mix of young and experienced players, whose next challenge is against the Czech Republic on 22nd October. The Czechs drew against the Netherlands in the first group match and are considered in very good form. Last night’s was Iceland’s first of eight qualifiers for the 2023 world cup in Australia and New Zealand. 

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