Swedish volleyball leader expelled for indirect criticism of FIVB
In October 2001, the Swedish volleyball leader Lasse Svensson received a letter from the International Volleyball Federation.
The letter informed him that after serving volleyball nationally and internationally for 30 years, he was now discharged from all official positions in the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), the European Volleyball Federation (CEV) and the Swedish Volleyball Federation. He can not even coach volleyball in a local club because the club might be punished by FIVB.
Because Svensson in his capacity as member of the board of CEV had written a letter to the chairman of the board, Rolf Andresen, about the relationship between CEV and FIVB. The letter contained a passage about attacks in the back against Andresen and CEV.
At a meeting, Rolf Andresen told FIVB President Ruben Acosta about the letter and Svensson was subsequently summoned to Lausanne and asked to explain himself to Acosta.
Shortly thereafter the expulsion letter arrived. Lasse Svensson was informed that the FIVB found his comments “hurtful” and appalling and that he was found guilty of breaching the FIVB constitution by behaving in an unprofessional manner.
The decision to relieve Svensson of all duties in volleyball was later upheld at FIVB’s annual congres and extended into a lifetime ban.
The offending passage in the letter from Svensson to Andresen
...I have so many times seen You both fighting for Europe and at the same time always been loyal to and defended FIVB and I am so sorry that we now seem to have sort of attacks in the back on You and CEV.
(document in English, article in Swedish)
An efficient way of silencing critics
The story about Lasse Svensson has been detailed in a series of articles by journalist Jens Littorin in the Swedish daily newspaper, Dagens Nyheter. The articles include copies of the original letter Lasse Svensson wrote to Rolf Andresen and the letter from FIVB to Lasse Svensson.
“It is a very efficient way of silencing critics. This is what Ruben Acosta does to those he considers illoyal,” Lasse Svensson tells Dagens Nyheter.
Lasse Svensson has only now come forward and told his story in public. He has been trying to protect the Swedish Volleyball Federation from further fallout from Ruben Acosta but he has become very disappointed with the national federation that he was chairman of in the 1970’s.
“They are afraid of getting into trouble with Acosta and instead they are falling into line,” says Svensson.
He believes that the real reason for Acosta’s anger was that Svensson did not want to support Acosta’s candidate to take over as chairman of CEV.