STOCKHOM (Reuters) - Striker Alexander Gerndt has withdrawn from the Sweden squad following negative reaction to his selection due to a conviction for domestic violence, the Swedish FA said on its website (www.svenskfotboll.se).
“Because of the negative attention around me, I cannot do this at this time. It’s better for me to withdraw now and ask for understanding about my decision,” said Gerndt, who plays for Swiss club Young Boys.
Gerndt, suspended from the national side following his conviction on two counts of domestic violence in December 2011, was selected by coach Erik Hamren in the squad to face Ireland in a World Cup qualifier in Stockholm on March 22.
“I understood that there would be reactions to his selection That’s also why I wanted to talk to him in advance,” Hamren said.
Hamren said Gerndt had been expecting a negative reaction, but that the player had been adversely affected by the response to his selection and had chosen to withdraw from the squad.
“He said then that he was ready and that he was prepared, that it could bring a lot of attention,” the coach said.
“But in the aftermath of the press conference, he felt bad. He feels that he cannot come home to Sweden to perform what is required of him in the squad.”
Gerndt was fined and put on probation after the district court of Helsingborg in Sweden found him guilty on two counts of assaulting his ex-wife.
Hamren said he would replace Gerndt in the squad.
Reporting by Philip O'Connor in Stockholm, editing by Ed Osmond