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Swedish football team faces sexist backlash

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Swedish football team faces sexist backlash
10:32 CEST+02:00
While bumper crowds turn up for Euro 2013 games, television audiences run into the millions and Sweden goes football crazy, the team has faced a wave of sexism and homophobia following their opening draw with Denmark.

"I expect the Swedish Football Association to do something about this... This hate and threats against women who play sport has to stop... We have had enough," said sports editor Ida Lindqvist at the Feminist Perspektiv journal in a statement.

Lindqvist has decided to file a police report over the flood of Twitter comments which have followed Sweden's 1-1 draw with Denmark on the opening day of Euro 2013.

"This is filed under disorderly conduct," Lindqvist said.

Comments on Swedish Twitter have included references to the players alleged sexuality, their appearance and their gender.

One tweet read "Women's football is small breasts, lesbians and short hair", while another read "the Swedish women's football... lesbian whores is what you are", according to the Nyheter24 news site.

Among those criticised for comments made on social media is Swedish handball coach Andreas Stockenberg who leads the Skånela team.

"When the Swedish squad in women's football has dinner with their partners there are 40 women and 4 guys," Stockenberg wrote.

In an interview with Nyheter24 Stockenberg explained that his comments were meant in jest and that he felt the team received "far too much undeserved media attention".

"They can hardly trap a sandbag," Stockenberg explained in support of his assertion.

Stockenberg has received criticism from his employers at Skånela and the tweets have since been removed from his account.

The tournament is being held in Swedish cities Norrköping, Växjö, Linköping, Gothenburg, Kalmar, and Halmstad, with the final in Stockholm on July 28th.

The matches have generated a great deal of interest with stadiums at or close to capacity. The clash between Sweden and Denmark attracted a television audience of 1.5 million (in a country of just over 9 million) according to broadcaster TV4.

Thomas Björn, Swedish Football Association liaison officer at the squad's base in Gothenburg told The Local on Friday that the team were concentrating on the job at hand.

"We are focused on the match against Finland on Saturday," he said.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson

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