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Iceland football federation resigns en masse over sex assault scandal

KSI chairman, Gudni Bergsson, had already departed late on Sunday.

Laugardalsvöllur, the Iceland national stadium.
Laugardalsvöllur, the Iceland national stadium.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

Updated Aug 31st 2021, 12:00 PM

THE ENTIRE BOARD of Iceland’s football federation (KSI) has resigned after a woman accused it of covering up claims of alleged sexual assault by a national squad player.

KSI chairman, Gudni Bergsson, already stepped down late Sunday and the association issued a statement acknowledging that its board had not handled the situation correctly.

Now, following an emergency five-hour session on Monday, the board’s other 16 members resigned as well, KSI said in a statement later that day.

On Friday, Thorhildur Gyda Arnarsdottir, now 25, had told public broadcaster RUV that a member of the national team had grabbed her crotch and grabbed her by the neck, before assaulting her with another individual, in a Reykjavik nightclub in September 2017.

Arnarsdottir and another woman had filed police reports against a player for sexual assault that night.

Arnarsdottir also said she knew of at least six other players who had been accused of sexual assaults by other women.

Bergsson was found to have lied when he told national television that the association had “not received a complaint or any kind of suggestion that someone in particular has been guilty of sexual offences.”

In a statement late Sunday addressed to the victims, the board said: “We… believe you and sincerely apologise. We know that we as guarantors have let you down and we intend to do better.”

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“We take the matter very seriously. Work is already underway with external professionals to review all responses to sexual offences and violence within the association and how support was and will be provided to victims,” the statement read.

It said it would “fix the things that have gone wrong and look at the culture that exists within the football movement from the bottom up.”

© – AFP, 2021

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