• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Enough! The murder of a Swedish football fan
The memorial in Helsinborg to the slain man. File: TT

Enough! The murder of a Swedish football fan

The Local · 14 Apr 2014, 15:01

Published: 14 Apr 2014 15:01 GMT+02:00

Until recently Helsingborg was best known for its close proximity to neighbouring Denmark, where Swedes eager to lap up the more liberal alcohol laws will throng the Danish sister city Helsingør across the sound. 

The events of March 30th, 2014, however, have put Helsingborg on the map. On the first day of the new Allsvenskan season, a fan of Stockholm club Djurgården was killed in the city centre. 

In the wake of the incident, the match between Helsingborg and Djurgården descended into chaos. The away fans chanted ‘Murderers!’ at their hosts and stormed the pitch in rage, forcing the referee to abandon the game.

“It was, quite simply, the worst day in the history of the club,” Helsingborg IF marketing manager Henrik Leveau told The Local as he prepared to greet guests at the club’s Olympia stadium.

The 44-year-old victim was a father of four. A man aged 28, and also a father of four, is currently being held in connection with the death having presented himself to police.

Following the killing, the spectre of football hooliganism in Sweden has been discussed at large. Sports Minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth suggested banning away supporters from the stands as a solution to the clashes.

Such ideas are given short shrift by devotees of the Swedish game, like Häcken fans Mikael Wallgren and Joakim Örngren. The pair trekked down from Gothenburg to see their side in action in Helsingborg and said they weren’t scared.

“We have nothing to be frightened of as our fans have a good reputation. When we go to an away game it is like a family outing as everybody knows each other,” Wallgren said outside the stadium, a beer in hand.

"The politicians will say anything as it is an election year," he added.


A memorial in central Helsingborg to the slain Djurgården fan. File photo: TT

Anybody who came to Helsingborg scared they would see a repeat of the violence were left relieved. Häcken brought an estimated 200 fans, including its female junior team, and the atmosphere was cordial. Club stewards described their visitors as the ‘ideal club’. The police presence was minimal.

Helsingborg IF's Henrik Leveau said the atmosphere had been completely different two weeks ago, and the behaviour of the away fans a different matter entirely. Djurgården fans arrived in their thousands before the ill-fated clash with Helsingborg.

"You could sense the tension in the city beforehand with the helicopters flying overhead,” said Leveau, who added that an estimated 4,500 Djurgården fans had travelled south for the game.

"A thousand of them were here to cause trouble."

The killing was not the only incident that weekend, which was marred by numerous clashes between the two sets of troublemaking supporters, known as ultras. A group of Djurgården fans trashed a local pub and threatened female customers with broken bottles.

Details surrounding the killing remain disparate. You don’t have to go far to be offered conflicting accounts of what happened the day the 28-year-old got into some kind of brawl that would cost another man his life.

Helsingborg IF officials conceded to The Local, however,  that the suspect was known to the club and had a history of troublemaking.

Clearly, lessons are being learned and some were in evidence as Häcken arrived in town. Dozens of pens hung off the fencing for fans to sign an 11-point manifesto pledging to be good ambassadors and to show tolerance. If you didn’t sign it, you didn’t get in.

“We marched together with the fans of Helsingborg to show solidarity and to stand up to the hooligans,” said Häcken fan Joakim Örngren before kick-off.

When the two teams came out they stood side by side and held up a banner which said ‘United Against Violence.’

Partly, the club had to do something.

Story continues below…

“After the Djurgården game many of the club’s sponsors wanted to pull out," Leveau said. "They didn’t want to be associated with football any more."

While he and his colleagues convinced the sponsors to stay in the end, Leveau himself said he is aware that some games entail real risk.

“When my son is older I’ll probably bring him to games, but not the high-risk ones like against the Stockholm clubs or Malmö," Leveau said.

"That’s sad, so something has to change before then.”

In order to get to the Olympia stadium you need to scale the steep Kärnan fortress which dominates the city. At the top of it a makeshift memorial to the slain fan was erected with the simple words ‘Enough!’

As the fans walked home following Helsingborg’s 4-2 win, many stopped by the memorial, which was adorned with fresh Häcken scarves, for a quiet moment of contemplation.

Follow Patrick Reilly on Twitter

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
So Sweden has high taxes? Not as high as you might think
A taxpayer hands in their tax declaration. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

So you think Swedes pay a lot in tax? Others pay much more, according to a new study.

Man injured in shooting at Malmö shopping mall
Rosengård Centrum in Malmö. Photo: Björn Lindgren/TT

Police cordoned off an area around a shopping centre in Malmö after a man was shot on Tuesday afternoon.

The Local List
Ten Swedish phrases you only hear in summer
Let's work on that tan. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Summer always leaves foreigners baffled by Swedes' unique seasonal habits. Here's The Local's guide to navigating small talk when the sun comes out.

Swedish kids' TV cooks up storm with condom haggis
How, er, not to make haggis. Photo: SVT screenshot

Not the Swedish Chef as you know him.

Swedes outgrown as world's tallest people
How tiny they must look to a Dutch person! Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Forget the myth about the tall, blond, modern Viking.

Record number of drowning deaths in Sweden this year
Linus Magnusson och Ester Meijer, life guards at Skanör beach in southern Sweden last year. Photo: Andreas Hillergren/TT

More people have drowned in Sweden so far this year than in any other year this century. The good weather is getting the blame.

Presented by American Express
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
File photo: Pixabay

Getting ready to jet off on summer holidays? Be sure to check out these tips and tricks for avoiding unnecessary headaches between packing and relaxing.

Pupils' school photo Nazi salute 'wasn't criminal'
The harbour in Simrishamn, close to where the incident took place. Photo: Jorchr/Wikimedia Commons

Four high school students who performed a Nazi salute in a school photo have had their convictions for inciting racial hatred quashed by an appeal court.

The Local List
Silly season: seven strange Swedish summer stories
But at least the weather's nice. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

What are Swedish journalists to do during the long dry news spell of summer? Here are the most bizarre stories we could find.

Opinion
'We don't know how Brexit will affect our time in Sweden'
Sweden-based Brit Sarah Campbell, left. Photo: Private & AP Photo/Tim Ireland

One month after the Brexit referendum Sarah Campbell, a British reader based in Uppsala, pens a love letter to her European Union.

Sponsored Article
What can newcomers learn about Sweden at Almedalen?
National
Meet the northern Swede who is the world's best mosquito killer
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
National
Sweden's Hollywood star Alicia Vikander puts her pen in the bottle
Gallery
People-watching: July 22nd-24th
Blog updates

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 

11 July

Swedish quizzes (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I have created some quizzes you can take online to test your Swedish skills. Here…" READ »

 
 
 
The Local Voices
The Jewish Syrian who dreams of rebuilding his country
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
National
Watch this Swedish weather host leave his fly open... on live TV
The Local Voices
'I fled war in Syria. I never expected to be beaten in Sweden'
National
WATCH: Asylum seeker brutally beaten by Swedish bus driver
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Technology
Why everyone is talking about Sweden's GTA pride parade
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
EU hits truck cartel with record price fixing fine
Society
OPINION: Why Sweden is the most extreme country in the world
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
The Local Voices
'There is equality in accommodation in Sweden: Everyone is suffering'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Gallery
Property of the week: Gräsö, Östhammar
Gallery
People-watching: July 15th-17th
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
How to make sure you're not caught out by Sweden's old bank notes
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Business & Money
Why Sweden has been named the most innovative country in Europe
National
Terror attack: what should you do?
Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of Berlin
National
French expat on the moment he was assaulted by a Stockholm bouncer
Sponsored Article
Why you need a EuroBonus American Express Card
Technology
Gunman? Nah, smartphone Swede
The Local Voices
'If the war in Syria ended today, would you go back?'
The Local Voices
‘I feel like I’m living in a grave!’
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Victoria celebrates 39th birthday
Gallery
People-watching: July 13th
National
Swedes discover surprise mountain
Politics
What Sweden's home secretary thinks of Britain's new PM
Gallery
Property of the week: Smedjebacken, Dalarna
The Local Voices
'Even xenophobic Swedes can be polite’
Politics
WATCH: A very Swedish take on Brexit...
National
Swede's fury at Daily Mail's Bråvalla 'lies'
Gallery
People-watching: July 8th-10th
The Local Voices
'The best time to be smuggled to Europe is August 20th, 2015'
The Local Voices
Swedes: Stop obsessing over your material life and start talking to strangers
3,357
jobs available