Swedish sport infiltrated by crime: report

Swedish sport infiltrated by crime: report
Threats and harassment in the Swedish sports industry affect almost half of all club directors but also taint the working life of referees and event employees, a government ombudsman has warned.

“Criminal infiltration is a real problem within Swedish sports, particularly in the big city clubs,” writes the National Coordinator against Sports-related Violence Björn Eriksson in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

“Threats, violence and harassment are much more of a problem than I ever had reason to suspect when I began my research,” Eriksson wrote on Thursday.

After inviting football and ice hockey clubs to take part in several surveys, he also conducted more than 20 in-depth interviews to get to grips with the scale of the problem.

“The most vulnerable are club directors, followed by referees and security guards,” Eriksson said.

About 40 percent of directors reported that they had been subjected to threats, while 35 percent of judges and 30 percent of guards or sporting event hosts reported the same.

Without giving concrete examples, Eriksson said his survey respondents felt they were at times subjected to undue influence in their decision making.

“I receive reports that board members and other key actors feel there is outside influence,” he said.

He said only two in five threats were subsequently reported to management.

“Sport should never offer an easy way for obscure figures to gain power.”

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