The man pictured above is Christian Keller, very recently the captain of Danish first-division club Randers. He and his fellow Horses had to bid adieu to one of their teammates today, after Jonas Borring announced that certain personal events had led him to decide to leave the club. What instigated Borring’s hasty mid-season exit? His discovery that captain Keller was shtupping his wife.
News of this broke last week, after the club was forced to take action in hopes of solving this dilemma. The details of what the Danish media has been calling “kone-gate”—translation: “Wife-gate”—are as follows: Borring and his wife, Kira Egsgaard Borring, while in fact being recently estranged, still lived in the same home together with their two children; Keller and Egsgaard began seeing each other, unbeknownst to Borring; at some point, Borring found out about the relationship and blew a gasket.
Borring has been very public with his feelings of betrayal. Here’s one of Borring’s summations of his pain, as reported in the Guardian:
“That she [Egsgaard] has decided to get together with our captain hurts a lot and that makes the situation between me and Keller at Randers untenable. He has broken rule No. 1 in the dressing room. He has completely knifed me in the back.”
For his part, Keller has expressed his own reasonable sentiments of empathy for Borring but has also offered a defense of his actions—after all, the married couple were estranged:
“I have told the rest of the squad what has happened and what I think. I am not an ice-cold person who doesn’t feel empathy with Borring or the team. I have a heart and I have followed mine. I have followed my feelings. And that is why we are in this situation.”
All of this has obviously been a difficult for not only Borring, Keller, and Egsgaard, but also (to a much lesser degree) the club as a whole. Both Borring’s and Keller’s sides have at least some emotional logic to them: it’s understandable that Borring would be hurt by this, as this is an even more egregious violation of the old “Don’t date your friends’ exes” adage. On the other hand, Keller and Egsgaard can just as sensibly posit that as two consenting adults, they are free to date whomever they want, free from concerns about Borring’s personal opinions on the matter.
It’s for these reasons that the club presumably had such a hard time rectifying the situation. Manager Chris Todd’s first first decision was to strip Keller of his captaincy and instruct the player to stay away from the team while everyone had time to think about how to proceed.
Borring’s position, as he hinted at in the quote above, was clear: he was not about to share a dressing room with Keller ever again. Keller himself recognized the impossibility of a reconciliation, though admitted himself that he had no intention of sacrificing his own place at the club:
“I think the matter is with the club and that they will have to make a decision about what will happen. But I can’t see anything else happening apart from one of us leaving the club.
“I have been given no indication that it will be me who leaves but I am not the one who will be deciding that. The people at Randers will.”
Reading between the lines of today’s announcement, the club’s decision-making process is pretty clear. Here’s Borring’s statement that he would no longer be continuing on at Randers:
“After long considerations and an emotionally difficult time I really wanted to return but considering the circumstances I found that impossible to do. Randers is a club that has meant a lot to me and it will be very difficult to leave the fans who have given me so much support and been part of my success. Randers will always have a special place in my heart and I have received so much sympathy and support the recently and I will never forget that. I will now start a new adventure in football.”
And here’s the club’s statement:
“We would have been delighted to see Jonas Borring back with the team but that was not possible. His departure is a sporting loss for us but we hope to see him on a football pitch, where he belongs, soon again. We are grateful for what he did for Randers and wish him every success in the future.
What most likely happened was that Randers, wanting to keep both players, held out hope that the two men would resolve their differences and put everything behind them. While initially siding with Borring—see: taking away Keller’s captaincy and keeping him out of the team—they nonetheless had no intention of getting rid of Keller for good. Borring was not about to make up with Keller, and so he made good on his ultimatum and asked for a mutual termination of his own contract. So Borring’s gone, Keller’s back in the team, and everything goes back to normal(ish).
Keller, when asked about today’s news, probably had the best perspective:
“We are losing a good player, someone who would have helped the team, but we have lost players before who would have helped the team and I think that the club, the squad and myself will move on. We won’t stop to play football just because a player leaves us.”
Photo via Getty