STOCKHOLM - A decision to shift a Swedish second-tier football match to allow a player to take part in a televised talent contest has struck a sour note with a rival club and football pundits.
GIF Sundsvall's 24-year-old midfielder Kevin Walker has taken TV4's 'Idol' talent show by storm and, luckily for him, the television company that broadcasts the programme also owns the rights to show matches from Sweden's Superettan.
"I'm living a Bruce Wayne life at the moment," Walker told news agency TT referring to the Batman character. "I play football during the week, and then take part in 'Idol' at the weekend. It's different for me than the other participants."
"There will be no clash with 'Idol'," TV4's head of sport Emil Osmanbergovic told news agency TT, with Sundsvall's televised match at Assyriska having been put back to Oct. 20.
Asked if it was possible to combine the talent show with professional football, Osmanbergovic said it was, "as long as the TV company owns the broadcast rights for both events."
But Superettan rivals Degerfors, who are battling Sundsvall for promotion to the top flight, were critical of changes to scheduled matches. "It's ridiculous, TV can do whatever they want," midfielder Niklas Kllingberg told newspaper Sportbladet.
Outspoken Sportbladet columnist Robert Laul - who abandoned a promising career as a player to become a sports journalist - said the move was "unprecedented in Swedish football history.
"If one looks at Kevin Walker's individual responsibility, it's obvious that football should come first. He has an employer, team mates and paying fans that he should respect and be loyal to," he added.