Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Not Playing Fair: Social Democrats Oppose Swedish-Israeli Handball Match

An international handball match between Sweden and Israel is being scheduled for next summer by the Swedish Handball Association (Handbollsförbundet). The association wants the game to be held in Karlskrona (in Southern Sweden) yet officials of the sports association (idrottsförbundet) in the community are already opposing the game.

 The game is to be held on July 12, 2011 if the community in Karlskrona will allow it. The chairman of the sports and leisure board (idrotts-och fritidsnämnden) in the community, Camilla Brunsberg (Moderate) is positively inclined towards the match.  According to Brunsberg the critique has been raised by officials in the city due to security concerns. But she asserts that “police, the foreign ministry and the handball association have been contacted in order to gather opinions”, all in order to make sure that the game will be able to be played. When asked about her thoughts on boycotts of the game Brunsberg answered:
 “I don’t believe in boycotts, what is important is to strengthen relations between countries”.

Vice chairman for the same sports and leisure board (idrotts- och fritidsnämnden), Jan Elmqvist (Social Democrat), is not so positive and does not want Karlskrona to host the game.  In an interview Elmqvist states: “Spontaneously, I don’t think that the game should be hosted here”. When asked if it is okay to mix politics with sports he further answers: “This has always been done.”

The chairman of the Karlskrona community board, Karl-Gösta Svensson (Moderate) also states that he wishes that Karlskrona hosts the game as: “sports and politics should not be mixed”.

According to the local newspaper Sydöstran the main concerns strive from uncertainties on whether or not Karlskrona will be able to manage the security measures necessary in order to host a game for an Israeli team. Opponents to the match have argued that the community will not be able to counter the type of security threats which arose when Israel played Sweden in a Davis Cup game in Malmö last year.
Still, with the clear division of thoughts between representatives from the Social Democrats and the Moderates in the community it seems pretty clear that also politics at this point clearly are influencing the decision to host the game.

Nervous authorities in Malmö declared that last year’s Davis Cup match between Israel and Sweden had to be played without crowds. But, unlike the capitulating Malmö Social Democrat city authorities, the team manager for the Handball association confirms that they want to play the game—they hope that the community will play fair and say yes.

No comments:

Post a Comment