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Top flight club bans foreign language use

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 10 Mar 2010, 13:39

Published: 10 Mar 2010 13:39 GMT+01:00

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"This is a non-issue," BP chairperson Ola Danhard told The Local on Wednesday.

As almost all of BP's players are home grown talent - with 17 of the 23 first team players from its youth set up - Danhard argued that a language policy was little more than a formality.

But Danhard did confirm that the club's board had voted to establish a policy for the exclusive use of Swedish within the club, both in its changing rooms and on the pitch.

"It is important for the collective that everyone in the team speaks the same language," he said.

Danhard told The Local that BP has a very successful youth set-up, drawing on talent from the greater Stockholm catchment area. He pointed out that while many of the players are from immigrant families and are multilingual, all can speak Swedish.

"In the changing room if you are going to use a language then it is much nicer if it is a language that everybody understands," Danhard said.

Danhard told The Local that they have been working with the issue for some ten years and there have been no negative reactions to date.

Story continues below…

"Like I said, this is a non-issue. We should all speak Swedish within the club," Ola Danhard said.

Brommapojkerna are widely recognised to have Sweden's best youth set up, which is the largest in Europe in terms of the number of active teams of all ages (250). The club's most famous recent prodigy was Albin Ekdal, who joined Juventus in 2008.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:47 March 10, 2010 by livinginsweden
Precisely ..... and about time too.

Otherwise immigrants will never learn to speak swedish ..... do you think they will tolerate players to speak in another language in china?

Good on you Brommaboys ... .. we are not Brommagirls!!!

ha ha
16:01 March 10, 2010 by bocale1
Albin Ekdal a prodigy?? AHAHAH...
16:18 March 10, 2010 by G Kin
Except they have had a particular problem with non swedish language use in the team, I do not see the need for such a rule.

How about some of those boys playing outside sweden some day. Will they have to use exclosively the local language as well?.
16:42 March 10, 2010 by stabbull
In a couple of years time, another name for brommapojkarna will be bancrupcy. unless they are very comfortable at remaining a modest team. Big teams buy big players irrespective of their countries of origin or language spoken, football has its own language and there is no such thing as our own football, the game is universal, and big teams get big sponsorships not because they speak one language, but because they play good football, and their players can perfom on different turfs. Brommapojkarna will be limiting its chances of getting better players with different styles of play and xperiences if they stick to that rule. Who wants to see the same old stuff all the time in FOTBOLL.
18:12 March 10, 2010 by mannorun
terrible rule, it cannot only happen here in sweden. why do foreigners even move to such a mediocre league as this, just to be forced to svensk.Go some where else boys not many people know about this league
19:23 March 10, 2010 by CHL0E
Actually, if I didn't remember it wrong, in Asia foreign football players DO speak another languages. I think there are translators going around with them when they train or play. Don't know much about football, but at least in Italian football clubs, you can find a few players who don't speak Italian.
19:57 March 10, 2010 by Beavis
Patheic club,pathetic rule. Hope they get relegated.

Very very bad management. Its fine to encourage Swedish to be spoken but not to force it. A good manager would try to get the most out of their players regardless of language. On these silly principles, what if say the next Henrik Larson or Ronaldo was at the club and denied his place in the team (even though he was clearly 10 times better than the other players)just because he couldnt speak Swedish..

Should Juve have tuened Albin Ekdal away as he didnt speak Italian??? They should have, would have taught this club a valuable lesson
20:30 March 10, 2010 by ingka
and actually being able to play a competitive game of football has been dropped by the unions as too selective I guess ?
20:42 March 10, 2010 by jag2009
what aload of crap.
20:55 March 10, 2010 by locaxy
"do you think they will tolerate players to speak in another language in china?"

Did this guy actually just use China (of all places!) as some sort of model to be duplicated?
22:19 March 10, 2010 by pjtaipale
Saakeli! Ei käy!

I don't know about Sweden, but I'd expect that in Finland this could lead to a noisy discrimination case. There would need to be a good, legal basis for a ban on using other languages.
22:27 March 10, 2010 by morchad
"It is important for the collective that everyone in the team speaks the same language," he said.

He has a point.....what's he going to do otherwise have a team of translators on the sidelines and in the dressing rooms.

Do any of you play team sports??? It disrupts everyone if a few don't understand whats really going on
22:50 March 10, 2010 by johnnyrebel
You know what...they are in Sweden, they make the rules. When in Rome do as the Romans do. I wonder if they might tolerate a little engelska though.
00:07 March 11, 2010 by Beavis
@morchad If you have a good coach in football it is not important that different languages are spoken. I have myself played on teams with different nationalities, where there was not a universal language spoken, and there were no problems. A translator was not needed! If you look at the top teams across Europe they have a mixed bunch and have always had that. Translators have only come into the game of late. If you look at the top Italian teams in the 90's (when the Italian league was the top in the world) they had to players from all and the top 5 teams, each had 50% non Italains. Take a look at interviews with Anders Limpar the first year he played in England, hadnt got a word of English. Take a look at interviews with Jan Mjolby at Liverpool when he started, not a word of English. Yet both were top players. Should the coach have said "No sorry, back to Sweden and Denmark with you until you learn English??" No, a good coach always uses his best players, for their football skills, not if they can talk a language or not! A poor coach uses this as an excuse.
00:18 March 11, 2010 by studentecon
Come on, there is only one language and one language only, Scooooore!!

Maybe it´s just another sponsorship strategy, they try to sell the image of "proud to be swedish" no matter if they are gonna be downgraded this season...
01:50 March 11, 2010 by BrammLinus
Good rule imo.
06:39 March 11, 2010 by Kermit_the_pig
Let's build a wall around Sweden, no foreign influences, no guest workers complaining about the swedish way of opening bank accounts, applying for personnummer, just make sure everything stays as it is. Sweden the counter part of a world growing together by successfully rejecting anything coming from outside. Sweden for the Swedes! Keep it, I don't want it....
08:57 March 11, 2010 by chapora
"This is a non-issue," BP chairperson Ola Danhard told The Local on Wednesday.

If it is such a "non-issue" Ola, then why the rule? This is what is the worst about Swedish society that obsesses about tying the whole country up in ill conceived regulations introduced by neo fashist board members. Time and time again a governing body over here introduces a discriminatorty policy mostly because they feel it makes common sense. Only later to realise that sitting on a board actually means that one has to represent the majority of an organisation not the personal zenophobic feelings of a board members ego. Rasism by any other words is what this is and let's make no mistake. They can wrap it up as commonsense or non-issue but it is discrimination based upon an appathetic attitude to the realities of the modern world.

Go for it Ola your silent rasist views have now been vocalised. Bravo you have placed your self in the land of the idiots...is that really where you wish to be?
09:39 March 11, 2010 by zooeden
The rule is retrograde and of course our first comment is too, congrats for that!!!

The name of the game is football, agreed with you all guys, the team is non competitive so lets not bother!!!

Oh yeah, now immigrants are gonna speak swedish!!!
12:04 March 11, 2010 by pjtaipale
"Do any of you play team sports??? It disrupts everyone if a few don't understand whats really going on"

I play football, although on a rather much lower level than even the P13 junior team of Brommapojkarna.

It is OK to require players to understand the language of operation, so that they know what the trainer says and can obey instructions. But this wasn't about players understanding what is said to them in the dressing room or on the pitch.

Players sometimes use coded speech. E.g. when planning an attack they could give instructions in a veiled way, so that the opponent cannot anticipate what is planned. They could say "gå nu", or they could code it and say "traktor!", or they could code it and say "mene!" or "انتقل الآن" and I don't see why the latter two should be banned and the former not.

Or could it be that this is a veiled attempt to ban derogatory expressions in a foreign language? If players swear at each other in Aramaic, an ethnic Liberian referee cannot know what happens. But if this is the reason, why isn't it said aloud?
12:44 March 11, 2010 by Aureliano Buendia
Swedish Racism Vol 1.
13:04 March 11, 2010 by sebseb
Comment: That policy is brilliant. The board of the team have trust in the young swedes. What if allll the best swedish players think the same and decide to prioritize a place inthat team? Englishs or Americans can't understand that because as long as someone speaks English, they are one of them. Never forget, English is no more than a prostitute. My mother togue is French, and like most of non natives from an English speaking country, we all screwww English. I would be very sad if French had the $$$ stick to her or the statu of world common language. It wouldbe like I share my mom to the restf the world. I hope some clever anglophones do understand what I mean!
15:18 March 11, 2010 by Beavis
@sebseb, so your saying that Ecic Cantona should not have been alowed to play for Man Utd due to the fact he couldnt speak English? Or David Ginola should have not got his place in the Newcastle team? Cop on!
21:56 March 11, 2010 by Jamie86
Just for livinginsweden alot of Australians have started to play in China, Korea, Japan and other countires contain within the Asian champions league. Guess what they do not speak the native tongue just plain old english, sorry to ruin your view of Chinese football. Football is the only international sport that crosses all boundaries around the world and brings so many people together for the love of game. This rule is obsurd and could only ever happen in Sweden.
00:02 March 12, 2010 by Beavis
@ Jamie86 Your dead right, and not just English. In the 80's and 90's half of all the players playing in Japan were Portueguese speaking Brazilians. Imagine them saying "Well Zico, you can only speak Japanese here if you want to play". Lineker would have been sent home too if the idiots running this Swedish club was in charge. Hopefully they will finish bottom and the manager fired, as anyone picking players on speaking Swedish over their football skills is oviously a moron and shouldnt be running a 5-a side tournament for the under 10s
20:03 March 12, 2010 by Nilspet
Agree with Jamie86 and Beavis. You can encourage foreign players to learn the language but you CANNOT set such a rule. It brings no good to the game. Players won't play better because they speak Swedish.
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