Leading Swedish football club Djurgården adopts IHRA definition of antisemitism

Leading Allsvenskan football club Djurgårdens IF has adopted the working definition of antisemitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

This was confirmed to the European Jewish Congress by Djurgården CEO Henrik Berggren in a letter to President Moshe Kantor and Aron Verständig, the President of the Official Council of Swedish Jewish communities, the country’s EJC affiliate.

Consequently, the 2019 Swedish champions will include the IHRA working definition in its policy documents as part of the proactive educational measures that guide the club’s work in the fight against antisemitism and all kinds of discrimination.

“As a club, we put a lot of pride in the impact we have in the community. Djurgården Football Club stands for a welcoming and open environment where everyone should feel welcome, regardless of political opinion, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or other external or internal attributes,” stated Mr. Berggren.

“We acknowledge the positive contribution football clubs can have in promoting a healthier society defined by inclusion, tolerance and respect of one another,” he added.

“We will accept and integrate the IHRA definition of antisemitism as a constructive and proactive measure to strengthen our own capacity to combat antisemitism and, to the best of our ability, educate others,” Mr. Berggren concluded.

The decision comes in the aftermath of remarks made by Djurgården co-trainer Kim Bergstrand in an interview for the sports newspaper Sportbladet in January 2021, in which he seemed to praise the leadership methods of Nazi Germany: “People who have led people, you can say what you want about horrible people in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, but there you got people to do things in a context. Then maybe you can discuss methods, but there were probably things that they also did that you can learn from or how not to do.”

Both Mr. Bergstrand and the club have since apologised for these remarks.

The Stockholm-based club joins the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Manchester United, FC Bayern München and dozens of football clubs across Europe to endorse and apply the IHRA definition and supporting the international work on combatting antisemitism in football.

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