They warmed our hearts with their Viking clap at Euro 2016. All seemed to be pointing at a new soccer power rising in Scandinavian soccer. Yes, they failed to qualify for the last two major tournaments but they had the administration structures to launch an assault on Qatar 2022. All that is now in jeopardy. A sexual abuse scandal has erupted in Iceland which resulted in the entire board of their FA tendering their resignation. Most of you might remember the Penn State sex scandal involving Jerry Sandulsky, the then assistant football coach at the varsity. What it has taught us is that there is institutional protection of offenders by those in power. Complaints about Jerry’s unusual behavior and fascination with boys reached principles at Penn State but were ignored. As humans we have a penchant for wanting to believe the best in people which isn’t bad at all. Imagine a world were everyone suspects everyone, it won’t be pleasant is it. But we rightly default to trust. Sometimes that trust is abused and that is what happened in Iceland as it is at Penn State.
The story in Iceland is that a very senior member of the national soccer team with 64 caps had complaints against him which was covered up by the FA. It turned out that they were basis to the complaints. Gudni Bergsson , the chairman of the association went on live TV to offer his apologies to the victims before the entire board resigned the following week. Sometimes we strongly want to believe that the man we have known for years cannot be capable of doing heinous stuff. Psychologists call it the Truth Default Theory and it can lead to victimization of the victim. The most important thing is that the Iceland FA has seen the error of their ways. Not many people have the humility to accept such a climb down. What is now left is the law and due process to take its course.