New Faroese Government reaffirms commitment to Olympic campaign

By Amelia Fisher-Starzynski, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands, October 8, 2019: Newly appointed Prime Minister of Faroe Islands, Bárður á Steig Nielsen, has reaffirmed the nation’s commitment to sport and gaining Olympic recognition (New Faroese Government reaffirms).

The Prime Minister part of a new government formed following the recent general election on the Faroe Islands. He took office on 14 September 2019.

Prime Minister Nielsen, a former Faroese handball player and traditional Faroese rower, said;

“As the Prime Minister of the Faroe Islands and protector of the Faroese Confederation of Sports, I committed to promoting Faroese sports and working for increased recognition of our great athletes and sports federations.

“The Faroe Islands have been a self-governing nation for over 70 years and we have fought for Olympic recognition for more than 40 years.

“Being able to compete in the Olympics and other related international competitions is a long-held dream for the Faroese nation and we believe that our case is strong.

“The Olympic family is now beginning to take notice of the strength and fairness of our unique case.

My Government colleagues and I look forward to a positive dialogue with the International Olympic Committee in the months ahead to realise our Olympic dream and gain Olympic recognition (New Faroese Government reaffirms).”

Jon Hestoy, Vice President of the Faroese Confederation of Sports and Olympic Committee, said:

“The Faroese Confederation of Sports and Olympic Committee welcomes the commitment of Prime Minister Bárður á Steig Nielsen and his government to our ongoing ambition for Olympic recognition and we pleased that this remains a national priority.

We look forward to working with the Prime Minister to build on the momentum and ground we have already made, and take our campaign to the next level for the good of Faroese sport and our athletes.”

The Prime Minister formally welcomed to his new role as Protector of Faroese Sport at a special meeting in Tórshavn, where given a diploma and a gold pin by the Faroese Confederation of Sports and Olympic Committee.

The new government has a strong connection to sport.

As a former elite handball player Prime Minister Bárður á Steig Nielsen competed in the top Faroese league from 1990-2014, winning five national titles.

He has also competed nationally in the traditional Faroese sport of rowing, where he picked up two national titles.

New Minister of Health, Kaj Leo Holm Johannesen, a former goalkeeper for the Faroese national football team, gaining four international caps from 1989-1995, while the newly appointed Minister of Finance, Jørgen Niclasen, was a member of the 2018 national volleyball championships winning team and has played at the top club level in the Faroe Islands for 10 years.

Prime Minister Bárður á Steig Nielsen’s predecessor Aksel V. Johannesen also represented the Faroe Islands on the international sporting stage as a member of the Faroese football team.

About the Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands, which has a population of 52,000, has been a self-governing region of the Kingdom of Denmark since 1948 and competes in the Olympic Games as Denmark.

Located north-west of Scotland’s Shetland Islands and almost 1,000km from Denmark, the Faroe Islands has been campaigning for more than 40 years for Olympic recognition.

The Faroese Confederation of Sports established in 1939 and Olympic Committee in 1982.

Sport on the islands is 100% self-funded, including all anti-doping activities [no sport funding comes from Denmark].

18,000 Faroese members of sports clubs which drives and overseen by the FCSOC.

Faroe Islands is a founding member of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and has competed in every Paralympic Summer Games since 1984.

It is also recognised in its own right by eight International Federations: archery, badminton, football, handball, judo, swimming, table tennis and volleyball.

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