Photo TOMI HÄNNINEN / BILDBYRÅN
All 43 players on Sweden’s women’s national hockey team announced on Wednesday that they will boycott both the next national team camp set for this weekend, and the upcoming five-nation tournament in Finland. The reason for the boycott, players are dissatisfied with the financial conditions for women’s national team players.
Brynäs star Erika Grahm shared a statement on her Instagram account this morning. (here). The post states why the women’s national team is choosing to boycott the Swedish Ice Hockey Association events.
“Today, all players have announced a joint and unanimous decision to boycott the Swedish Ice Hockey Association’s national team. We will all say no to the preparation camp at Bosön on August 15-19 and the following five-nation tournament in Finland, August 20-25. A total of 43 players have been invited to participate in upcoming events. No one will participate.”
“The reasons for the decision are that the conditions for the players on the women’s team have deteriorated. The agreement signed between SIF and SICO regarding lost work income expired in April of this year and the Swedish Ice Hockey Association has chosen not to extend the contract regarding lost work income. ”
“It breaks our hearts that one of the first reactions for us to be awarded the honor of representing our country returning is how much we will lose financially by accepting the invitation.” The player union SICO said in a statement on its website. “
The former women’s captain, Jenni Asserholt, with several gold medals on her track record, understands the decision. “If you look at history and, for example, how similar sports are, I think of the neighboring football (soccer) and the journey they have made, partly in Sweden, but also by the US national team, then I think it is understandable,” says Asserholt.
“I have an understanding of the players who spend an incredible amount of time and have to take time off from work to leave. At the same time, there is probably a balance there too, if you look back many years ago when Sweden was successful. It might have been even better if it had all happened when it was still very successful.”
Degraded to B-World Cup, Sweden missed the medal round during the 2018 Olympics, had its worst result ever. Then the women’s team lost the support of the Swedish Olympic Committee (SOK). “We are not investing any money in them now,” said SOK’s operations manager Peter Reinebo in connection with the withdrawn support.
A year later Sweden was degraded to the B-World Cup, after a loss to Japan in the last group game match. “It’s a historic failure,” said SVT’s Jonas Andersson. SVT’s expert Maria Rooth was as shocked as everyone else. “Now we have reached the bottom. Now the players have to investigate themselves: do I do my best to be as good as possible ?,” she said in SVT’s studio.
There has been a lot of criticism in the past against the Swedish Ice Hockey Association, given how the financial situation looks for the Women’s team. “In the past we got SEK 200 a day when we played on the national team. Now we get no compensation at all. I find it strange that the union does not want to create better conditions for the ladies by paying national team players at a reasonable level. Having the same system for both ladies and gentlemen when the economic differences between women’s and men’s hockey are astronomical is strange,” said Pernilla Wiberg to Hockey Pulse.
The Swedish media outlet SportExpressen reached out to the Swedish Hockey Association for comment, after the boycott announcement, but they did not want to comment. “We haven’t had time to talk about this. Call in an hour, when we know who should be the spokesperson, says Anders Feltenmark, information assistant at the Swedish Ice Hockey Association.”
Props to the Swedish women’s team for drawing a line in the sand. Will probably many other sports entities follow suit.
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