Gylfi Sigurdsson is an Icelandic professional footballer that has played high-level football for many years. Throughout the 2010s, Sigurdsson starred for numerous Premier League clubs.
However, Sigurdsson was arrested in 2021 on suspicion of child sex offences. He was suspended by his club at the time – Everton. Sigurdsson went from having the world at his feet to facing prison.
But in April 2023, all charges were dropped against Sigurdsson. In this article, we look at the overall case and timeline of Sigurdsson – and what will happen next in his career.
Sigurdsson was considered to be a star of the future in his native Iceland. He was scouted by English clubs – and aged just 16, he joined Reading FC’s academy team.
He debuted for Reading in 2010 and played for them for two years prior to joining German club 1899 Hoffenheim. Sigurdsson excelled in Germany but returned to English football with Swansea City in the second half of the 2011-12 season.
Following a fruitful spell at Swansea, he joined Tottenham Hotspur in time for the 2012-13 season. After two years, Sigurdsson moved back to Swansea City.
Sigurdsson was also the Iceland national team’s star player for many years. He played in both the 2016 European Championship and 2018 World Cup
In 2017, Sigurdsson joined Everton for £40million – a club-record deal. There were high expectations on Sigurdsson, but despite a promising start, there were too many average performances from him.
However, he scored a goal in Everton’s first victory at the home of rivals Liverpool since 1999. This was one of his final goals for the club – but one that he was remembered for. He was due to return to the club for the 2021-22 season, but circumstances changed.
On 16th July 2021, Greater Manchester Police announced that they had arrested a 31-year-old Premier League footballer “on suspicion of child sex offences”. He was released on bail.
The player at this point was unnamed. However, once it was announced that Everton had suspended Sigurdsson – who matched the age and location – most assumed it was Sigurdsson. While this wasn’t confirmed by the Police, an Icelandic newspaper revealed that Sigurdsson was the player in question.
Sigurdsson was banned from leaving the United Kingdom while investigations continued. Over the next two years there was very little in the media about Sigurdsson – who kept a low profile throughout.
His contract finished in 2022 and was released from Everton. He was linked with moves abroad, but owing to being unable to leave the United Kingdom – this was not possible.
Police confirm no further action
However, after silence on the case for many months, Greater Manchester Police announced that no further action would be taken against Sigurdsson.
In a statement, the Police stated that the available evidence did not “reach the threshold set out on the Code for Crown Prosecutors”. Essentially – this means that whatever evidence the Police had was not enough to continue the case.
It has never been revealed what the evidence against Gylfi Sigurdsson was. Due to the nature of the alleged crimes, it is unlikely that this information will ever become public.
In reality, in cases where sex offences are dropped, a witness or potential victim generally recants their accusation. This is most likely what has happened here.
Footballers are often accused of paying off people – which may have happened here. In fairness, this has in the past made innocent footballers potential victims of extortion.
What will happen to Gylfi Sigurdsson?
Sigurdsson is now 33 and could therefore continue playing at the top level for another few years. It is highly unlikely that this will be in England, with his reputation now in tatters.
Whether or not he could still perform at a high standard remains to be seen. A move to a club in Turkey or China is likely. Or, a move to an Icelandic club could also happen.
Any move is likely to take place in the summer transfer window. But with Sigurdsson now free to leave the United Kingdom, he will surely look to sign for a new club ready for the 2023-24 season.
Unfortunately, many footballers believe that they can get away with just about anything – including depraved actions. It seems that there wasn’t enough evidence to proceed with a case and in the eyes of the law, this makes Sigurdsson innocent.
However, there is no smoke without fire, so something must have happened. But with Sigurdsson now considered innocent, he can restart his career. Whether or not he will remains to be seen.