• Sweden's news in English
 
jobs_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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.

“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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit


Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swedish festive ad pulled following racist abuse of child
File photo of Swedish Lucia celebrations. Photo: Jack Mikrut/TT

Department store Åhléns announced on Monday that it was removing an online ad after the child in the picture was targeted by racist trolls.

Swedish nationalists sack MP accused of anti-Semitic slur
The Sweden Democrats have removed Anna Hagwall from the party. Photo: Roger Vikström/TT

Anna Hagwall has been slammed in Sweden for what was perceived to be an anti-Semitic attack on one of the country's media groups.

The Local Guide
What was that noise? There's no need to freak out, Sweden
Hi Fredrik, why are you so hoarse? Photo: Daniel Zdolsek/TT

Don't be alarmed if you heard a long, deafening siren on a Monday afternoon in Sweden. This is what it was.

Man detained for Malmö arson attack claimed by Isis
The building that was smoke damaged in the arson attack. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

The attack which caused smoke damage to a community centre in Malmö was claimed by Isis in a publication run by the extremist group.

Nobel Prizes
Bob Dylan writes speech for Nobel Prize ceremony
Bob Dylan. Photo: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

And one of Bob Dylan's songs will be performed at the awards ceremony, but not by the literature laureate himself.

The Local List
Six weird Swedish Christmas foods to try if you're brave
Yup, that's a pig's head with 'Merry Christmas' written on it. Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT

From fish treated in acid to 'egg cheese', The Local looks at some of the weirder Swedish Christmas foods on offer.

In pictures: Tour this unusal Swedish home at Christmas
This Swedish family have their own unique take on Christmas. Photo: www.adddesign.se Karlsborg

Houzz.se's Amanda Strömberg looks inside a Swedish family's unconventional take on Christmas at their farm.

Presented by the University of Gothenburg
8 fascinating programmes at the University of Gothenburg
Sofia Sabel/imagebank.sweden.se

Did you know the University of Gothenburg offers 60 master's programmes in English? And some of them may surprise you.

No fire, but: Gävle's baby yule goat run over by car
The tiny goat before the attack. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Not a great Christmas tradition, guys.

Swedes give low marks to pupils' performance
A classroom in Sweden. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Less than a fourth believe that Swedish pupils learn what they need to in school, a new poll suggests.

Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of New York
National
No, that loud noise wasn't someone strangling an elephant...
Sponsored Article
18 Stockholm innovations to keep an eye on
Gallery
People-watching: December 2nd-4th
National
Final proof that Sweden has NOT banned Christmas lights
Blog updates

14 November

Hello darkness, my old friend (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"I started thinking about November’s blog for The Local at the end of October, as the…" READ »

 

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Smart songwriters: Sweden's next big music export?
Travel
IN PICTURES: Stockholm's new myth-busting Viking museum
Sponsored Article
Why Stockholm attracts so much talent from abroad
The Local Voices
Job market matchmaker hooks up 1,300 newcomers and Swedes
Gallery
People-watching: November 30th
National
This is how cold it's going to get in Sweden this week
Sponsored Article
Sweden to Hong Kong: The Local guide
Gallery
Property of the week: Skellefteå
Sponsored Article
We visited 5 'murder spots' in Malmö
National
Inside Sweden's perilous Sami reindeer pilgrimage
The Local Voices
'My name is Sami and I am a proud Swede - it hurts when people say I'm not Swedish'
Sponsored Article
Programmers' bootcamp: Change your life in 12 weeks
National
Swedish Advent 'less popular than Christmas Eve'
Sponsored Article
Why Stockholm startups are teaching kids to program
Gallery
People-watching: November 25th-27th
Swedish city to put all workers through LGBT course
Sponsored Article
Smart songwriters: Sweden's next big music export?
National
The five weirdest attacks on Sweden's giant straw yule goat
Sponsored Article
'Learning to trade gave me the life I wanted'
Gallery
People-watching: November 23rd
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: leading the way in clean energy innovation
The Local Voices
'Swedes are stylish: you need to dress well if you want to fit in'
Sponsored Article
Michael Björklund: 'Being a chef is crazy work'
National
Critics slam Swedish paper's Donald Trump cartoon as anti-Semitic
Sponsored Article
HIV in Sweden today is not like it was yesterday
National
Men call Sweden's mansplaining hotline for mansplaining tips
Sponsored Article
Mette Helbæk: ‘We have a basic human need to connect'
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
Sponsored Article
Terje Håkonsen: 'I try to make everything count'
Gallery
People-watching: November 18th-20th
Sponsored Article
Lina Thomsgård: 'I try to break down barriers every day'
Culture
Shooting starts on The Bridge 4
Sponsored Article
'We wanted to turn ideas into action'
Travel
Sweden's ten most beautiful places
The Local Voices
Having a Swedish girlfriend didn't help this Egyptian evade culture shock
Gallery
People-watching: November 16th
Culture
What the world of Harry Potter would look like... set in Sweden
The Local Voices
This new book by a Syrian writer gives refugee children their own hero
3,491
jobs available