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Friday, 26 April, 2002, 09:40 GMT 10:40 UK
Does Sven-Goran Eriksson's private life matter?
The Football Association is said to be worried that media speculation over Sven-Goran Eriksson's private life will affect England's World Cup bid.
The England Manager has been a front-page fixture since The Mirror alleged he is having an affair with TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson.
However, England's assistant coach Tord Grip says "This has nothing to do with our preparations for the World Cup.
"That is going on as planned because it has to."
According to the Daily Telegraph, Eriksson has assured the Football Association he will continue in his post despite "great discomfort" at the intense media intrusion into his personal life.
Do you think that Sven-Goran Eriksson's private life will affect England's chances in the World Cup? Is the media coverage warranted? Does it really matter?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Come on people, get a life and affairs of your own.
To the Swedes who object to our discussing their compatriots: both Sven and Ulrika choose to live and work in the UK so you can't really complain if we talk about them! However, I think the tabloids' obsession with football is even sadder than their obsession with sex - surely there is something more interesting to write about?
Has no one in the UK heard of an open relationship? Oh sorry. No sex please we're British!
Leave the poor guy alone. How come the press seem to take great delight to trash people's private lives? Freedom of speech should be used to report the important things in life, like what is happening in the world. Places like Israel, Bosnia, India, etc. Maybe Sven and Ulrika should do a little "reporting" on the paper people that published the story, then maybe they will understand what it feels like to have someone watching your every move
I have never understood why people believe the personal life of an athlete, manager, coach or entertainer will have a bearing on whatever job they perform. Nor do I understand why what they do behind closed doors is vital to me. We have the luxury of those closed doors, they do not, and though they have chosen an arena in which they are in the public eye, that doesn't mean that the public has a right to know all their idiosyncrasies. I certainly don't want my co-worker to know my own peccadilloes, innocent though they may be. There's a reason it's called a personal life.
How can Eriksson's private life possibly affect England's performance on the pitch? Only if he gets thrown out of his stride by unnecessary media coverage. How about we all get about our own business and leave Eriksson to handle his own?
What a disgrace to the UK Sven is. Not only is he cheating on his long-term partner but he isn't even accepting responsibility by explaining his actions to the public. I think it's time and enough for Sven, Britain's children need a real role model.
Stephen Yeghiazarian, UK
I think he is one of the best manager we have had since we won the world cup. I think he has dodgy taste, but his life is his own. Somehow I don't think she will be contributing to the 4,4,2 set up or anything else to do with the game. Leave it alone!
In Britain, the garden-fence gossip culture has died as we have become an unfriendly, isolated people. So, for example, the latest fix of gossip about Mrs. Jones next door has become replaced by reading tabloids going on about Sven. The only scoring I'm bothered about with Sven is that which his team does on the pitch.
There are people out there that think "So what". The only question that needs to be asked should be "Is he doing his job?"
Tabloids are too nosey. They have to leave his private life alone if they want that England to have a chance for the World Cup. Private life has nothing to do with football.
I'm not interested in football and I don't approve of marital unfaithfulness, but I fail to understand why in a country where adultery is generally accepted and football is an obsession, why people should choose to pump up this story by buying the scandal rags.
Congratulations, we now have a new national game. Why don't we just not go to the World Cup and just all talk about what we think each other is up too. I think it is pathetic that these trash papers are more interested in this 'story' than any other news events. I am ashamed to be English because we have a good team and an even better manager and instead of celebrating this fact and supporting the team we feel the need to destroy everything.
As a Swede it's very interesting to read all your comments. It seems that you Brits really have taken Sven to you're hearts! He has truly made an impact on you all since he came to England last spring and said: 'Hi, my name is Sven!'
And it's understandable! Through the years I have truly admired Sven for what he has achieved as a football manager and for the professional way he handles media. He is quiet, cool and kind in almost every situation and that's, I think, the key to his success. And of course we all should respect his point of view. Leave the man alone and let him do what you Brits like him so much for; lead the English soccer team to more victories! (Not against Sweden though).
Hans Eriksson, Sweden
England will surely blame Sven if they do badly!
Great job lads! How can you be so stupid? You're destroying your own World cup preparations! What if Sven is having an affair with Ulrika, why do you people even care??
Is there even a photo of the two of them together? And what a reliable source? A sad little English man who wanted to make a buck or two..
I have a question for the British Media. - Do you want England to win? If so, please leave your managers alone!
Sven might be in the public eye, but this does not give the media the right to intrude on his private life. At the moment he is the public enemy number one. If he leads our National team to world cup glory he will be a hero. So, media, get off his case and let him do his job. Private life is just that - private.
I wouldn't worry too much about Sven. This clearly is a cheeky ploy to deflect attention from the England squad in preparation for the World Cup. Are the public really that fickle that they can forget what was on our front pages about 10 days ago? Someone's very crusty looking left foot! Sven has quite obviously given the tabloids something to chew over for a few weeks while his relatively young squad (quite unfamiliar to the kind of press attention usually applied to England players in the weeks before a World Cup) can concentrate on how to stuff the Argies, Swedes and Nigerians.
Kind of like it! "The group of death" isn't that scary anymoreż Keep it up tabloids!
Sven Goran Eriksson is quite possibly one of the best England managers for sometime. What he chooses to do is his business and his alone. The gutter press should be barred from harassing him.
When World Cup fever hits England the Sun etc will be pledging support for 'our boys'; the grief they have given Sven will be long forgotten.
We are all very proud of Sven here in Sweden. He is a great leader, and he treats his players and the media with respect. One might think that he deserves to be traded the same way himself. After all, it's up to him alone to decide who he wants to share his personal life with.
I only have one thing to say about the Sven-Ulrika relationship: Who cares? Sven like us isn't perfect so why bother about it? Like us he's only human so leave the man alone!
Unfortunately having seen most comments on this page, I think there is a different issue. Double Standards. Sven himself said that his 'Private life is my private life and that is it', but isn't this the case for footballers, in particular Lee Bowyer. This guy, one of the most energetic midfielders going, is still being punished for an offence he didn't commit, that was also in 'his private life'.
Boring, boring, boring - and even Radio 4's "Today" programme is joining in the tabloid glee at reporting this nonsense!
It's only football you know!. Not a priest fiddling with little kiddies. Priorities people, get your priorities right.
I've never ever bought a tabloid; never will, as they are just disgusting and vulgar.
The media should really leave Sven and his private life alone. Bless him. He's just human, one of us and he should be entitled to his privacy. Let's just leave him to do his own thing.
It matters if that woman distracts him from his job which is getting us as far as possible in the World Cup. Frankly I don't care who he sleeps with and anyone who does needs to get out more. In that respect I would say Sven, like anyone is entitled to privacy.
Stephen James, London, UK
If the public continue to make a big deal out of this, then it will affect him, as it does for everybody that is hounded by the press. Please just judge him on his footballing track record. So far, so good, so please just leave him alone so England stand a chance of doing well in the World Cup.
I agree with most people who have posted a comment here, that is, leave Mr Ericsson alone, he's doing a great job. If the tabloids annoy you as much as they do me, then do as I do. Don't read them, don't buy them, and don't quote them. You'll be amazed how soon they'll disappear.
We should live people alone, to do what they want.
Why do we have to invade other people's privacy? Just for cash and publicity.
This guy is doing a good job and let him carry on with it if you want good result.
For God's sake! Stop being so bloody childish! It's his personal life and his love life. Not the entire world's. And it has nothing to do with his ability to coach England in the World Cup. Get a grip on reality everyone, please!
If he quits, the FA will never get a high calibre manager in that job again. It will be back to normal, and we can forget about England ever achieving anything again. Well done Mirror you have made the job utterly untenable. Just wait until the players are away in Japan, they will be hounded around waiting for someone to have a shandy with his dinner and be castigated in the press.
You UK guys are obsessed today with us Swedes! Today on the BBC website, I read about Eriksson and Ulrika in the headline, Eriksson and Freddie Ljungberg in sports news, Ericsson in financial news and finally, ABBA and Volvo in a daily column!
Don't you have anything British to talk about?
I really agree with Christer from Sweden. Don't you have anything more British to talk about? Leave them alone!
Should we concentrate on winning the World Cup or Sven's private life? The media always seem to be curious. I think that we should ignore the media and realise what is more important. The World Cup, of course.
Come on England!
Grief, only we could manage to get a great international manager and then contrive to drag him through the tabloids. His private life has nothing whatsoever to do with anyone else. Tabloids are an evil blight. Let's evolve people.
I couldn't believe even The Times carried this story on its front page. Who cares? Most of us have a private life and if we do or don't it's nobody else's business.
Is this news? Ms Jonsson is simply a shameless self-publicist and I couldn't care whether she is close to Eriksson or not. I bet the FA are well chuffed with the World Cup just weeks away?
Mahesh Chandra Somani, Finland
Blaming the 'newspapers' for gossip is like blaming Le Pen for French apathy. It's because people buy these insults to intelligence known as tabloids that they have the power they do.
Why oh why did Piers Morgan & Co. have to open this Pandora's box? True most feel the Sven and Ulrika is irrelevant. But next it will be, "Was Sven honest with Ulrika?" and then "Is Sven too weak to leave his Italian girlfriend ?" etc. etc. Now if that is still playing out in a few weeks then I for one, will blame the tabloids for undermining England. If they leave it now, then we'll be able to forget it with time to spare....
He's not a politician preaching a moral code, and there's no kids involved. So it's his business and should stay that way. The best manager England has had in years, and we are doing our best to drive him away. Great idea.
Am I old fashioned? Isn't everyone entitled to a private life?
If we were all subjected to the same kind of intrigue... including the editors paying for the information - we'd all be in the same position - wishing we weren't.
Robin Chakraborty, England
This media coverage even if true is not justified. Sven has not broken any laws which quite rightly would deserve attention he his just being exploited because he is well known.
To hear the Editor of the Sunday People prattling on about how Sven is a role model and what a poor example he his making to others is frankly laughable. The press must be forced to change their ways and the best way is for people to stop buying their malicious views. I will get 10,000 names committing themselves to not buying a paper for a month if others will do the same, how about it?
Leave the man alone, as he quite rightly said yesterday his private life is private. Let him get on with his job and I suggest to those that even decided to go ahead with this story to get on with some proper journalism not gossip.
I'm more concerned about why he selects the Neville brothers.
Does no one feel embarrassed that our media does this to people? Sven is a guest of our country and he is changing the face of the England team. He is a decent man with a brain (not something we could say about our last lot of joke managers). Who cares if he is with Ulrika she is just after the attention. Do people not have any respect in our country? I hope we win the World Cup and Sven walks out on us as we deserve it.
I don't care for the feelings or embarrassment caused to men who cheat, or for the half wit women who collude with them. The latter generally enjoy the attention anyway. What I do regret is that in these cases there is an innocent party who has done nothing to deserve the pain, embarrassment and humiliation caused by "newspapers" exposing such activities. Lets face it, it isn't news, its malicious gossip.
Nick B, UK
Interesting to note that the "newspaper" that is at the forefront of peddling this gossip is the same one that it currently re-branding itself to be taken more seriously. Some hope.
Sven is entitled to a private life of his own choice in the same way as anybody is. It is unfortunate that this issue has been stirred up by tabloids. I cannot see how his love affair can have any adverse effect on his management of the English team.
It seems to me that Beckham's injury, which affects his chance of turning up at the World Cup should be the main issue.
Who really cares as long as he does his job. Most of us have more important things to worry about.
I do not see why it matters whether the England Manager is having an affair or not. After all his 'love life' is not important to whether or not he can motivate all our players enough into believing that they are capable of winning the World Cup and get his tactics right on the pitch. I think the tabloids should stop trying to create a scandal where there is none. Personally I won't bother reading any further stories about Sven and Ulrika. Let's concentrate on what the team can achieve in Japan and Korea and forget about the gossip.
The only thing I'd question is his taste in women, but that really is up to him.
The newspapers will be to blame if England get knocked out of the world cup, and if Eriksson resigns. All England fans should boycott the papers until they get the message that his private life is private and should have nothing to do with how he does his job.
R Lippett, UK
Isn't there anything else to gossip about?
England claims to be the home of the "beautiful game", but can't find a native to coach its national team. If this story is as important as its close-to-top billing on "Talking Point", then Britain is in worse shape than I ever thought.
He is paid to teach men how to kick a football and not to live as a priest. British journalists should find something interesting to write about. I doubt they have the education though
Stop buying the Red Top rags and that will put an end to this rubbish pretty quickly. A fall in sales is all they understand. It looked like Johnny Foreigner was going to give an England team to be proud of and our 'patriotic' Red Tops couldn't handle that. Bring him down now!!!
Having lived in Thailand for the past 14 months, it is amazing how the Thai press and people love the English game and really want the team to do well in the world cup. It is even more amazing that our own press seem intent to run the English team down and interrupt their preparations in these late stages. The so-called reporters and editors in question have only brought shame on themselves and bemusement from people over here. I think these people need to have a good talk to themselves and get a grip on reality and decide where their loyalties are......probably lining their own pockets!
Words fail me, why do people waste their money on such utter drivel in the scum press?
The man's private life is a matter for him and his family. Concentrate your reporting efforts on something that actually matters, please.
The amount of attention placed on this non-issue is staggering. The England team's biggest opponent is its own press. Sven is the best thing that has happened to English football precisely for that reason. This man is focused on the task at hand, and will waste no time on this non-issue. I expect to hear reports of Sven and Becks parading around Old Trafford in matching sarongs by the end of the month. Please keep me posted.
If England lose the best manager we've ever had over this, and consequently lose the world cup, I'm not only never going to buy a tabloid newspaper in my life again, but I'm going to start an active vendetta against them, I have a website which has over 10,000 hits a day, I'm sure I can make an impact!!!!
I see no reason for that to be the case although the intrusion of the media certainly would make life more difficult. In fact if media interest and the constant bothering of Eriksson continues it will be their interference which could lead to his coaching of England being disrupted. His private life is his own.
You English have got to get over your fascination with other peoples sex lives.... leave him alone, the people who own the corner shop are probably up to much worse. We don't get our thrills in New Zealand from other people's private lives. Judge him by how he does the job he is paid to do!
Who cares what he's up to in his sex life?
Oh yeah...the tabloid press.
No one else cares....most of us are up to far worse anyway.
Leave this man alone, he is doing a perfect job, all manager don't have woman in their life what in hell you media people need to know and interfere in his life. It's stupid of British people and your media..
Stephen Waterson, England
Nice one "Mirror", and all those that have followed suit! I'm sure the opposition teams are praising the English media of doing their usual sterling job of dismantling their heroes, but don't we need to start off with xenophobia first and then manager character assassination! That's the usual gutter press, world cup progression. Anyone up for a reincarnated turnip?
England has the best national team coach they have had for years. This side is capable of playing some fantastic football under Sven. Regardless of the results of the pending tournament it is a good idea to keep the same coach until the next World Cup and beyond. So why do the morons in the tabloids always do everything to dismantle and English side prior to the World Cup.
Why not report on something worthy and let the team coach get down to the business of the World Cup? Don't give him a reason to start looking elsewhere for a job after the World Cup because he will be very hard to replace.
Chris Demellis, Australia
I can't believe that the tabloids, who pride themselves on their nationalism and xenophobia, could seek to undermine the England team just before the WC finals. This is treason. The sentence for the editors should be a sound beating from the thugs.
Is Sven a football manager or did I miss the news that he has been appointed Pope? Does anyone really care who he is shagging? Good luck to the guy. Leave him alone.
Why doesn't the BBC set the example and cease to publish anything further on this irrelevancy? For heavens sake, please stop prying into everyone's private life just for the sake of some cheap news.
How to get rid of an England manager. Drag his laundry (dirty or otherwise) out in to the public eye. When he gets fed up with it, he should quit the UK. If we leave his private life to him and anyone involved in it we may just keep him. Leave the man alone.
Having been out of the country for nearly 18 months and looking forward to the world cup - you have to wonder what the British Press are really like? Why interfere with a man who has done more for English football in the last 10 years! No wonder people will always look down at our tabloid press - they turn on our own! Go England and go Sven - both on the field and in the bed!
Leave the man alone. He's doing a good job which is what he's being paid for. It is this kind of thing that earns the title of "gutter press" and leaves people disrespecting journalists as much as they disrespect politicians.
Why don't they leave the poor guy alone? He's human, not some God. His proven record managing football teams will be what he is judged on. What does one's personal life have to do with his ability to run the English national team? Leave him alone to live his life, and just watch and see how his managerial skills shine through.... (Oh yeah, and there may be just a hint of jealousy from those who'd love to be seeing Ulrika??)
Paul Donnelly, Belgium/ Brussels
Does his private life matter? No. Does his public life matter? Even less. For heaven's sake let's ditch football and concentrate on a real game, like cricket. Even tiddlywinks is more interesting.
The tabloids only care about selling papers not the impact of the content. This is only half the issue however. Maybe the people who spend money on this rubbish should shoulder some of the responsibility.
It was a matter of time before the press found something to cling on to regarding Sven. Quite honestly, it does not matter as he is focused guy and he clearly can handle pressure. Looking at Sven and Ulrika, I would say that he has done well to get anywhere with her and I am sure he has gained more respect from ordinary guys who would not mind dating her!
This is typical behaviour by the tabloid press. They have found no reason to complain about his work so far, but now have an excuse to crucify him if England don't win the World Cup, even though it will be through England not being good enough and not that Sven has had his mind on other matters.
Do the tabloid editors really think that now, just before the World Cup, is the right time to cause Sven any more stress?! As far as I'm concerned, let him do what he wants! He could rob the Bank of England as far as I care!
It's to do with football and therefore irrelevant by definition.
Sven is not a priest, politician or deity, nor is he married, and he should be allowed to enjoy his affair in private. The Press, our self-appointed and ludicrously hypocritical moral guardians, have heavily misjudged the public's mood if they think we want them to ruin another World Cup for England.
We all know that Sven is a deeply private person when it comes to his personal life. If the press speculation causes him to quit, the journalists are going to have no-one else to blame but themselves when we get knocked out of the world cup in the group stages.
I don't think it will affect him all that much. He is a very experienced manager who has coached teams at the very highest level, he should be able to remain focused as any professional should. Is the media attention warranted? No, I don't think it is. It took up so much of the Press this weekend that you would be forgiven for thinking that nothing else was going on. At the end of the day both Sven and Ulrika are adults, neither are married so they can do what they want.
And fair play to the lad! Like most Englishmen, I'm jealous!!
Surely it's only of interest if he picks her for the left side of midfield.
The media will force him to be distracted just as Bill Clinton was. He is fully capable of doing his job if the media will let him get on with it.
So, Graham Curry (UK), it is 'adult' and mature to be a promiscuous, cheating slut? I don't care what Sven does that's outside of football, but I was just thinking the other day how he seems to have escaped the same flak that most other England managers get, presumably because of his nationality.
In defence of Sven and Ulrika.
Having lived and worked for some years in Scandinavia (Denmark) I feel that I have to explain the Scandinavian attitude towards sex. Sex is an adult activity, and once they become adults they deal with it in an adult manner (unlike the English who snigger and titter whenever it is mentioned). To mock Sven and Ulrika for the rumours is to uncover the English attitude towards physical relationships as something 'smutty' or regrettable, whereas to the Scandinavians it is usually not a matter for embarrassment. It did take me some years to completely understand and accept this attitude, but 'free love' is an expression best applied to British behaviour rather than the Swedish way of life (and love). So come on - grow up and take an adult approach to Sven and Ulrika.
The media do a great job in showing up people who ought to be setting a better example. It makes for a better society if wrongdoing is difficult to hide. If Sven is cheating on Nancy then that is wrong. The paparazzi step over the line sometimes when they impede free movement etc, and the press sometimes misreport and sensationalize, but apart from that I support what the media does wholeheartedly.
Once again the tabloid press try and destroy something good that comes England's way. Who really cares what he, or anybody else for that matter, gets up to in their relationships? He's a good manager for England, and that's all that matters to England fans.
Nick Allpress, England
The only reason why his judgement would be called into question is if he does choose a person who is plainly out to inject some life into her flagging career by means of very dubious publicity and plainly has no sense of discretion.
Now, in the absence of any worthwhile news stories, we have another attempted character assassination of an England coach who actually has been doing rather well. Anybody remember the slating dished out to Bobby Robson before Italia '90? Luckily, Sven-Goran is an intelligent man with a passionate hatred of the tabloid press, so I do not think it will matter. No doubt, if England fail miserably at the World Cup, the tabloids will lay the blame at the door of the Eriksson household.
Typically intrusive, bored media who are only interested in creating sensationalism to sell their grotty cheap publications. Show me a man who has not been seen with a woman who is not his partner, this happens the world over every day. His private life is exactly that and unrelated to the World Cup. The only reason it will affect our chances in the World Cup is because of the media.
It's sadly typical of the UK that this non-story generates such interest. Yesterday, the Observer reported that for decades, part of the UK population were unwittingly subjected to toxin trials by the Ministry Of Defence. This becomes page 5 news in one paper. What kind of priorities do we have? We seem to be descending into deliberate ignorance.
I agree 100% with Martin Ball. As an expat I am continually being asked about the English attitudes to sex. People in the UK really should know that it is stories like this that have led to the UK being regarded as an irrelevance on the world stage when the national news headlines are what the rest of the world see the UK as being most interested in. In the year 2002 isn't it about time sex was taken away from the back of the bike sheds and also that the national press in the UK grew up, no wonder they are held in such low regard, even lower than politicians, and that's saying something. As a Scot I wish I could ask Sven to come and manage Scotland, but it probably wouldn't change anything. Sven, tell the press in no uncertain terms that if he reads anything in a national newspaper about his private life that he will ban that papers sports reporters from press conferences and all the other advantages that the press enjoy in regard to access to the players. John
Martin Ball, UK
Is his private life important? Of course not, but it is far more interesting than any of ours, so let's hear more of it!
It's every red-blooded male's dream, and if you hound him he will quit and we will end up with somebody like Mike Bassett, and get much the same results. Who he sleeps with is nothing to do with us. Let him get on with the football, when it has mattered we have not lost a game.
It's not in the best interests of the country to reveal the private life of quite possibly one of the best England managers just before a World Cup. It's about time this country had laws to prevent private personal information not related to a person's role being published. People have been having affairs for thousands of years, so why on earth this is breaking news I don't quite understand!!
We can always rely on the great British media to dig the dirt. It's a sad indictment of our society that we cannot allow people to conduct their private lives without shoving long lenses at them and even sadder that the public promotes this activity by buying the papers.
Let's face it, the tabloids are only interested in selling papers, and any football-related story has a good chance of doing that. It's not exactly news, but if the papers persist with it, it may unsettle our Sven and in turn impact on the team. But why all the fuss anyway ? He's not married, so can do what he likes. There's no such clause as "being faithful only unto her" when you're just living with someone.
Who cares? He is a soccer coach, not the Archbishiop of Canterbury.
If it's likely to sell newspapers to the Great Unwashed then Fleet Street will pounce on it. Last week it was Beckham's bad foot; this week it's Eriksson's intimate social liaisons. What will next week's tabloid scoop be? Will Victoria Beckam's grocery shopping list influence the outcome of the World Cup? Do I care? Not at all!
Well, well, it's the same old media story in the UK isn't it; raise someone up onto higher ground, only to try and knock them down again. It's very sad to say the least, as Sven has achieved historic results with our boys on the football field. Let Sven get on with his job. And so what if he's seeing Ulrika? Most guys in Britain would do the same thing, given half a chance. Keep up the good work Sven and good luck in the World Cup. All the Brits in Iceland, as well as most Icelandic supporters will be behind our lads every step of the way.
GDO, Hong Kong
What happens in Sven's personal life is not deserving of so much coverage in the media. Maybe it might be of some interest in a showbiz column but since when did the England managers' liaisons become national property? He is not the prime minister!
It's totally disgraceful behaviour for a man who should be setting an example to the nation - but to be honest I'm just jealous.
Susan Goff, UK
Forget Israel and Palestine, forget France's election, forget Dubya's latest target - THIS is important - Swedish plot to undermine the English football effort in Japan!
It doesn't matter an iota, but everyone loves the gossip don't they?
Sven is a world-class football coach. You want him to have a spotless private life as well? One man can only do so much!
S Luker, UK
22 Apr 02 | England
Eriksson in 'England pledge'
21 Apr 02 | SOL
Spotlight stays on Eriksson
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