Sweden coach in clear-the-air talks with pundit after spat
STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) — The coach of Sweden’s men’s soccer team has held clear-the-air talks with a TV commentator after they became engaged in an argument on air following a European Championship qualifier.
What began as a post-game discussion between coach Janne Andersson and pundit Bojan Djordjic about the playing time of substitute midfielder Jesper Karlsson after Sweden’s 5-0 win over Azerbaijan on Monday ended with a heated exchange between the pair.
Djordjic appeared to be most unhappy with Andersson for asking who he represented. Djordjic was born in Serbia but played for Sweden’s youth teams. Andersson has insisted he was not referring to Djordjic’s origins when saying the word “represent.” The argument ended with Andersson walking away without taking more questions.
Describing the spat as a “high-profile controversy,” the Swedish soccer federation published a statement Wednesday saying the pair spoke for over an hour at the offices of Swedish broadcaster Viaplay and have settled the matter. Alongside the statement was a photo of the pair smiling and with their arms round each others’ shoulders.
“It was extra nice to meet and clean up this event in an honest way and we did it with heart and understanding for each other,” Andersson said.
Djordjic said there was “forgiveness in both directions.”
“It was important to me that Janne was genuinely interested in my life story and wanted to understand my reaction and feeling, even though we come from different generations and from different backgrounds,” he said.
Andersson has been Sweden’s coach since 2016. He had come under pressure ahead of the game against Azerbaijan, with his team having failed to qualify for last year’s World Cup and having started qualification for Euro 2024 with a 3-0 home loss to Belgium on Friday.
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