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EURO 2013

EURO 2013

Swedish football team faces sexist backlash

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.

Swedish football team faces sexist backlash

“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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FOOTBALL

Sundhage: The times they are a changin’ for Sweden

Sweden coach Pia Sundhage is hoping for a change of luck against old foes Germany to win her third consecutive women's football gold medal in Friday's final.

Sundhage: The times they are a changin' for Sweden
Sweden football coach Pia Sundhage meets the press in Rio. Photo: Tobias Röstlund/TT
Two-time world champions Germany have an impressive record against Sweden, winning all three previous Olympic meetings between the sides in 2000, 2004 and 2008, as well as a 4-1 thrashing at last year's World Cup.
 
“They have been winning against us too many times. They have to lose some time, hopefully it is tomorrow,” said a cheerful Sundhage, who ended her press conference Thursday by singing a line from Bob Dylan classic “The Times They Are A Changin'.”
 
Sundhage led the USA to gold in 2008 and 2012, but insists a third title with her native Sweden will mean more given the limited expectations of a side that only reached the quarter-finals by finishing as one of the two best third-placed sides in the group stages.
 
“It is one thing for the US to play under such pressure. There were so many people expecting US to win the gold.”
 
“When we started this road for Olympic qualification in March not many people expected us to be here.”
 
“Tomorrow will be the very best experience I have had with an Olympic gold medal.”
 
Germany coach Silvia Neid will take charge of the national team for the final time after 11 years at the Maracana.
 
“What can be nicer than have your last game playing for the gold medal and playing in this fantastic stadium,” said Neid, who will resume a three-decade long rivalry with Sundhage dating back to their playing careers.
 
However, she refused to try and out-sing her Swedish counterpart.
 
“I can't sing. I can dance, but I need Pia to do the music.”