Swedish football team sacks its entire first squad for homophobic abuse

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A Swedish football team has sacked its entire first squad for chanting homophobic slurs at a rival team, made up mainly of LGBT people, and encouraging fans to do the same.

The Metro reports that Sörskogens IF players chanted slogans like “you’ve given us all HIV”, and “you’ve infected us all,” and some players encouraged fans to do the same, during a match against the Stockholm Snipers, a team which aims to be inclusive of people from any background.

Some members of the team also made threats against Snipers players, and coach Christoffer Smitz confirmed that the players locked themselves in the changing room at full time, until the ground was empty.

“It was a little unpleasant when we went into the dressing room after the game. One of our players was also threatened after things got a little heated on the pitch,” Mr Smitz told Sveriges Radio.

The Stockholm Football Association issued a 5,000 kronor (£467) fine to the seventh-tier side, Sörskogens, but the team board decided that drastic action needed to be taken regarding those involved.

Club president Ketil Torp said on Friday that homophobic abuse, such as was seen in the game against the Snipers, would not be tolerated. He said the board “had no choice but to close down the whole team.”

“This kind of abuse fits neither in football nor outside the game. We are a club with 90% youth players and it must be clear that this is not in our values.”

The Sörslogens IF Twitter page, officially representing the hockey branch of the club, tweeted on Friday about the incident, saying:

“Just to be clear. This section of Sörskorgens if has nothing to do with the ugly actions towards LGBT. The team has been sacked. #thumbsup

The Stockholm Snipers describes itself as “a sports club where everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnic origin and age can participate.

“The association is special in that we mainly look to homosexual, bisexual and transgender people, while many straight people also choose to play for us. Diversity is a reality at the Stockholm Snipers – not just words.”