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President suggest moving Independence Day if it conflicts with World Cup game schedule

By Staff

  • Crazed dictator? First he wants to ban pineapple as a pizza topping, now he wants to move Independence day around? Photo/Eyþór

After winning a spot at the 2018 World Cup by beating Kosovo 2-0 at Laugardalsvöllur stadium in Reykjavík, Icelanders are already busy making plans for following their national team to Russia, which hosts the World Cup. The Russian government has already announced that Icelandic football fans will not need a travel visa to follow their team, and social media has been aflame today with people debating the cheapest and easiest ways to fly to the different Russian cities where the matches will be played.

Football fan no 1
One of the most die-hard fans of the Icelandic football team is Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, the president of Iceland. In the lead-up to the 2016 presidential elections Guðni joked that one of the most important benefits from winning the election would be that he would have an easier time getting tickets to national matches. Guðni is therefore expected to be present in the stands while "strákarnir okkar" (our boys), as the team is known in Iceland, play their games in Russia.

Read more: Photos: Icelanders celebrate the win over Kosovo which secured a spot at the World Cup

Following the team to Russia might pose some problems for the President, as it might conflict with his official duties as President. The World Cup begins on June 14 and finishes on July 15. Depending on the game schedule, which has yet to be finalized, the Icelandic team might end up laying on June 17: The Independence Day of Iceland. Attending the Independence Day celebrations in Reykjavík is one of the most important official duties of the President.

Moving Independence day?
In an interview with the local radio station Bylgjan, Guðni jokingly offered a solution to this problem: postponing June 17:

"Of course I will go to Russia! We don't know the dates or cities where the Icelandic team will be playing, but I do know the World Cup begins on June 14 and concludes on July 15, so I can't be certain how this all plays out, but I might have to just move June 17."

Guðni quickly added "No, I was just joking!", mindful of how his previous off the cuff tongue-in-cheek comments have blown up: At a visit to a high school in North Iceland in February Guðni answered a question from a student about what he would do if he had absolute power by saying he would ban pineapple as a pizza topping. The answer, which was obviously a joke, was picked up by international media, quickly morphing into one of the most amusing scandals of 2017: "Pizza-gate".

Read more: President of Iceland announces that he would ban pineapple as a pizza topping

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