The Sweden Democrats have been excluded from the yearly football match between parliamentary parties. File photo: Scanpix
Sports in parliament

Sweden Democrats not welcome to play ball

The Sweden Democrats are unwanted as teammates in the Swedish parliament. The yearly football match between the government and the opposition parties has caused a political disagreement over whose team the party should join.

Three opposition parties – the Left Party, the Social Democrats and the Green Party – have formed a "red-green" team to face the four government parties in the match, which will be played in two weeks' time.

Upon offering four players to the opposition's team, the Social Democrats were told that they weren't welcome on the opposition team.

"It's immature. But we will not make a big thing of this, we have more important things to be doing," Per Ramhorn of the Sweden Democrats told the daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

The Sweden Democrats entered the parliament in the 2006 elections. Both the government coalition and the three opposition parties have criticized the party for what they perceive as anti-immigrant policies.

The Social Democrat MP Christer Adelsbo said it would be more natural for the Sweden Democrats to play on the government team, as their voting in parliament had been more aligned with the Alliance parties than the opposition.

But Åsa Romson, the Greens' spokesperson, said she thought the dispute over choosing football teams was unfortunate.

"We think the situation that has arisen is very unfortunate. To bully those who want to join in and play some football is a bad attitude. But we can always discuss on whose team they should be playing," Romson said.

Next year, a football tournament for all members of parliament will be arranged. The Sweden Democrats will then be invited to play.

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