Football faces possible player strike
Football in Sweden could grind to a halt unless players and clubs can agree on a new collective bargaining agreement.
The Swedish player’s union (Spelarföreningen Fotboll i Sverige—SFS) had set a May 7 deadline for a new contract or the players would walk. The SFS represents the players in the Allsvenskan and Damallsvenskan, Superettan and Division I. Weekend talks between the union and the clubs (Svensk Elitfotboll—SeF) showed some movement and the players extended their deadline for another week.
“We made some headway,” said IFK Göteborg player representative Hännes Stiller. “It looks like we might be able to reach a deal in the coming week.”
The two biggest issues are player pensions and pay for injured players. Unlike leagues in the United States, players in Sweden do not have a professionally funded pension. Even more important to the players is the subject of pay for injured players. Under the now-expired CBA and past agreements, clubs had the right to cut the salaries of injured players as much as 90 percent.
“I don’t think there is another job or profession where if you get hurt you lose almost all of your salary,” said IFK Göteborg captain Tobias Hysén. “It’s like a newspaper telling a journalist with two broken hands, ‘Oh, you can’t type so we’re not going to pay you.’”
Players contend they spend more time training and in rehabilitation when hurt than they do training when healthy.
“When you’re hurt, you have to be at the club twice a day for rehab and check-ups and other things,” Hysen said. “You spend twice as much time trying to recover from an injury and the clubs can reduce your pay in half or even 90 percent. It’s not fair and there’s not another profession that would accept it.”
Club representatives say they need to cut the pay of injured players to afford the cost of bringing in new players to replace, even temporarily, those injured.
The threat of a May 7 walkout had clubs scrambling as every league had a full slate of matches set for the weekend. The seven-day reprieve, Stiller said, was a sign the strike threat had worked.
“A lot has happened in recent days,” Stiller said. “We’ve come a long way.”
The players have set May 15 as the next deadline.

IKSU, Storveta win innebandy crowns
Storveta won its third consecutive crown in innebandy, taking the men’s title with a 5-3 win over Dalen April 26 at home.
Storveta used a third-period rally to overcome Dalen, which held a 3-1 lead midway through the second period. Andreas Carlbom and Johan Alm staked Dalen to a 2-0 lead in the first period. Mattias Samuelsson tallied for Storveta at 4:10 of the second period to cut into the lead but Jonas Svahn restored the two-goal cushion for Dalen at 4:37 of the second.
From there on, Storveta turned to player of the match Hannes Öhman, who mounted a near-single-handed attack on the Dalen goal. Öhman set up Hans Berggren at 5:43 of the second period to cut the score to 3-2.
Storveta and Öhman continued to mount pressure and just a minute into the third period, Henrik Stenberg tied the game off a pass from Samuelsson. From there on, it was all Öhman.
The game MVP put Storveta in front for the first time in the match at 1:03 of the third period. Öhman notched his second goal of the game at 18:08 to secure the title for Storveta.
“It is everyone's dream to score the decisive goal,” Öhman said. “Everyone dreams about it as kids and after two periods I said to myself that now I really need to sharpen up. I was ashamed. I can't say that I played any better in the third period, but at least I could put in two goals and I guess that can be considered as OK.”
In the women’s final IKSU took command from the first minutes of the match. Emelie Wibron scored the opening goal in the third minute with a long distance shot and three minutes later she increased the IKSU lead to 2-0. IKSU goalie Malin Marklund made sure the lead lasted as she made several key saves in the first period.
Marklund was something of a surprise starter after she suffered a concussion in the semifinals against Djurgården. The IKSU net minder, however, refused to watch the final from the bench.
“The doctors told me not to play the match, but there was nothing that could keep me from playing and now when we won the gold it feels amazing,” she said.
With Marklund holding the Mora offense at bay, IKSU continued to snipe at the other end. Cassandra Edberg and Frida Nordström scored 20 seconds apart in the second period to give IKSU a 4-0. After Josefina Eiremo scored at 11:32 of the third period, the only question was whether Marklund could earn a shutout. Mora had an answer as Therese Karlsson ended the shutout bid at 15:12 of the third.
Frida Eriksson and Therese Andersson scored the final two goals for IKSU. Victoria Wikström contributed three assists for the champions.


Norrköping wins basketball title
The Norrköping Dolphins won the Swedish basketball championship for the second time in three years after knocking off the Södertälje Kings in six games.
The Dolphins claimed their crown April 29 with a 72-71 win over the Kings in Sodertalje. The game came down to a battle of American point guard, with Andrew Mitchell edging out Johnell Smith. Mitchell, who played collegiately at Kent State University, finished with 20 points and five assists. Smith, a University of New Orleans product, racked up 11 points and six assists.
Norrköping and Södertälje battled evenly in the first quarter with the Dolphins clutching a 14-13 lead. Norrköping had a 6-0 run at the start of the second quarter to open up a little breathing space and went into the half with 37-27 lead. The Kings, however, went on a third-quarter tear, using an 11-3 run to close the gap to 56-54. Fred Drains, a standout at Kean State, sank a pair of late free throws to keep the Dolphins in the lead.
Norrköping set up its dramatic Game 6 win with a 79-70 win. Mitchell again led the Dolphins, scoring 20 points and pulling down four rebounds and dishing three assists.
While the playoffs belonged to Mitchell, the season belonged to Smith. The Södertälje point guard won league Most Valuable Player honors as he averaged 17.9 points, 3.9 assists and 2.9 steals per game in leading the Kings to the finals.