New helpline to offer support for victims of harassment in elite sports

3:13 min

Threats, harassment and violence against people involved in top-level sports in Sweden cannot be tolerated, particularly in light of the MeToo movement, the head of the National Sports Confederation tells Radio Sweden.

Björn Eriksson made the claim when announcing the launch of a telephone hotline along with victim support measures in order to encourage people to come forward and end what Eriksson called "a culture of silence" in mens' elite sports.

"We are supporting victims so they dare to come forward and really show people that there are a lot of them because that's what happened with the MeToo movement and that is what's happening here," said Eriksson.

On Tuesday, the National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå) released a report mapping threats, harassment and violence at the elite level in football, bandy, ice hockey and basketball.

Brå's director-general, Erik Wennerström, said their research found that players, coaches, referees and sports journalists can be targeted by the more extreme elements of supporters' clubs.

"Sometimes there can be subtle threats such as someone from the hardcore element of a supporters' association putting a sticker on the door of a police liason official's or journalist's door, just to show that 'we were here'. But knowing these groups and their capacity for violence, that sticker is sufficient to send a threatening signal," Wennerström told Radio Sweden.

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