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President of Iceland
Photo: Guðni Th. Jóhannesson (Screenshot RÚV).

President Hopes that “Things Have Changed for the Better.”

Following allegations that have plunged the Icelandic Football Association (KSÍ) into crisis, President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson weighed in on the recent controversy in an interview with RÚV yesterday. Speaking before the Men’s National Team faced off against Romania, Guðni remarked that competing on behalf of Iceland is an honour, but that that honour comes with responsibility – that of “not being an idiot.”

Distressed by the revelations

Following revelations that the Icelandic Football Association (KSÍ) was privy to allegations of sexual offences, contrary to public statements made by its Director – who has since resigned, along with the board – President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson addressed the ongoing controversy in an interview with RÚV yesterday. Speaking before a match against the Romanian National Team, Guðni admitted that the recent allegations had caused him distress.

“Of course I’ve been distressed. We must be able to support Iceland’s representatives on a stage like this, while at the same time supporting victims of violence and harassment; otherwise, we’re in deep trouble. The leadership within the Icelandic Football Association has shouldered responsibility, and now we hope things have changed for the better. I think that we will also see that society is evolving; what once was covered up, will be forced into the light of day,” Guðni stated.

“At the same time, however,” Guðni continued, “we must beware not to jump out of the fire into the frying pan. The Icelandic National team is about to compete. I try to attend all of Iceland’s matches, no matter the sport, whether men or women, and there’s no original sin that comes with being a man and enjoying football. We can attend the games and enjoy ourselves, but we must be certain that if something untoward occurs, that there will be consequences.”

“There’s a great honour that comes with representing Iceland, whether in sports or other arenas. That honour comes with responsibility; to behave decently – not being an idiot. From here on out, we will learn from our experience and look ahead with optimism. That’ll make living in this country good.”

Disappointed by recent developments

As noted by RÚV, President Guðni was contacted by the father of a woman who alleged that she was physically and sexually assaulted by a member of the men’s national team in 2017. The President replied  to the man’s email stating that he had discussed the matter with the Director of the Icelandic Football Association; however, given the nature of his office, he could not involve himself in the matter directly.

Asked if how the Icelandic Football Associated handled the matter was a disappointment, President Guðni replied in the affirmative, but qualified his affirmation with reference to a past settlement: “Yes, as far as recent developments are concerned. At the time, however, it was my understanding that the victim had been content with how these matters were resolved, and I believe that all of the evidence, which has since come to light, confirms this.”

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