Polish football player Chris Jastrzembski, formerly of UMF Selfoss in South Iceland, joined the team prior to the start of the current season and made 13 league and cup appearances before transferring to Prey Veng in Cambodia last month. Vísir reports that Jastrzembski endured repeated xenophobic comments and discrimination on the basis of his nationality while living and working in Iceland.
The 25-year-old defender opened up about his experience in Iceland in an interview with the Polish paper Gazeta on Thursday.
“It’s the worst country I’ve ever been to,” he said. “I will never go back. Many Poles live there and they’re fine, but my experience of Icelanders is terrible. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. People are sorted into categories there.”
“The club treated me worse because I have a Polish passport. From day one, those people had no respect for me.”
In the interview, Jastrzembski recalled an incident in which he was putting up scaffolding at the stadium in Selfoss. He was doing so from a ladder that an Icelandic woman was holding for him.
“Then the boss came and told her to stop helping me because the wind wasn’t that strong, and I’d be fine. The woman left and I fell,” Jastrzembski said, adding that the woman had felt bad about the accident and he’d told her not to worry. The supervisor then began speaking to her in Icelandic and she translated what he said for Jastrzembski. According to the woman, what the Icelandic man said was: “To hell with him. He’s just a Pole. If he dies, there are plenty of Poles who can take his place.”
‘Requested to be released from his contract for personal reasons’
In a Facebook post about Jastrzembski’s departure from the team in July, the team wrote:
“Defender Chris Jastrzembski has played his last game for Selfoss. The player requested to be released from his contract with the club for personal reasons and the club has granted that request. Chris joined the team in the winter and played 13 games this summer and scored one goal. We thank Chris for his time here in Selfoss and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Prior to playing for UMF Selfoss, Jastrzembski played in the Faroe Islands, Germany, and for Poland’s national youth football team.