A workgroup established by the Icelandic Football Association (KSÍ) has submitted proposals on how the association could better handle allegations of violence and sexual assault. The report, which tackles issues of “procedure, attitude, and culture,” encourages the association to shoulder increased responsibility.
To “take a clear stand” against all manner of violence
Following resignations by Director Guðni Bergsson and the board of directors earlier this year, the Icelandic Football Association established a workgroup to examine procedures relating to allegations of violence and sexual assault. The group’s mandate was to review responses to sexual and violent assaults within Icelandic football “in collaboration with outside professionals.”
A few days ago, the workgroup submitted its report, which was subsequently published on the association’s website. On the first page of the report, the authors urge the leadership to assert their opposition to all kinds of violence publicly:
“This summary report contains the workgroup’s proposals alongside an encouragement to the leadership to make good use of the present opportunity to take a clear stance against violence of any kind – especially sexual violence – and, thereby, improve the culture and attitude of individuals connected to the association.”
Betterment founded upon four pillars
The report is predicated on four proposals.
First, the workgroup advises that the association update its code of ethics, adding provisions relating to allegations of violence and creating channels for individuals to report misconduct and bring charges. The Icelandic Football Association is encouraged to sign contracts with members of national teams in which the code of conduct is explicitly referenced. Furthermore, the report advises that these contracts include provisions regarding violent misconduct, wherein – among other conditions – athletes commit to declaring any charges of violent or sexual misconduct. Finally, the authors counsel that employees who occupy positions of confidentiality within the association be made to confirm the code of ethics with their signatures.
Second, the workgroup stresses the need to create clear channels and response protocols for instances of violence within the Football Association and its member societies. The Director of the Football Association is to be designated as a “special liaison” to communication consultants within sports and youth clubs. Furthermore, instructions on how to report violence are to be made accessible on the association’s website and on all member societies’ websites.
Third, the association is encouraged to take a “clear stance” against violence and to coordinate the messaging of its member societies. The workgroup also advises that leadership attend seminars on equality and violence each year following the annual meeting.
Fourth, the workgroup advises that the association assume a leading role in equality within sports in Iceland, that it adopt an “equality plan,” and that it work to ensure gender balance within all of its internal committees and councils.
The association should “welcome its responsibility”
The report concludes with further encouragement in which the association is urged to welcome its responsibility while at the same time taking it seriously:
“The association cannot, by itself, change society; however, it does occupy a unique position in terms of effecting significant and positive change. The association’s messaging and policies matter. By acting on these four proposals, and by leaning on the insights of professionals in the field of equality and violence, the association can become a role model and demonstrate that it is intent on shouldering responsibility.”