Swedish Language Blog

Zlatan about Swedish women’s football Posted by on Jan 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

Not too long ago, on Christmas day as a matter of fact, Zlatan was interviewed by one of Sweden’s biggest tabloid newspapers. In this interview he chose to mention the recent Players of the year Awards in November. In the interview he expressed himself in such a way that a lot of people reacted and got quite upset.

During the awards a player by the name of Anders Svensson received a car with the motivation of having played 146 international matches, most amongst the men player in Sweden. However, Therese Sjögran who also plays for Sweden on the women’s team has played most international matches amongst both men and women. A total of 182 matches all together. This was seen as very insensitive that she shouldn’t receive a car as well.

Zlatan thought the comparison between mens and women’s football were ridiculous and commented on the reactions to only Anders Svensson getting a car saying something along the lines of “They can get a bike with my autograph on it, then everything should be alright”. During the interview he also said “When I go out into Europe they compare me to Messi and Ronaldo. When I come home they compare me to women players.” “Should I have to be ashamed of being a Swedish football player?”


Zlatan Ibrahimovic

One of the Swedish football associations biggest sponsors, Svenska Spel (a betting company) were not at all happy about what Zlatan had said, and his apparent attitude towards women’s football. Svenska Spel were however not the only ones to react. The days following Zlatan’s interview voices of disapproval and disappointment spread across social medias.

A couple days after the original interview Zlatan choses to try to explain what he was actually trying to say. “The criticism that is directed towards the football association is disrespectful towards Svensson and is overshadowing his performance”. “The part about the bike was meant as a joke, even if it was a bad one, and I thought the reporter understood that. I didn’t mean to tread on anybody’s toes (hurt anybody’s feelings)”.

Yesterday the president of the football association, Karl-Erik Nilsson said “Therese Sjögran will also be given a gift from the football association”. Anders Svensson said “She is also worth a car”.

Anders Svensson and Mikael Sandtoft from football association

And so this sheds some light on the equality situation in Swedish football. I don’t think that anything that happened was meant or said out of malice, mostly out of thoughtlessness. Hopefully Zlatan’s interview can bring more attention to the differences in the way we treat men and women football players and what messages our actions send.

Is women’s football big in your country? How are women in general treated in sport?

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