• Sweden edition
 
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

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

“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
Politics
Nuclear freeze agreed by new government
A nuclear power station in Forsmark, Sweden. Photo: TT

Nuclear freeze agreed by new government

Sweden's Social Democrats and Greens Party have announced a coalition agreement to halt nuclear energy development. READ  

International
Sweden rethinks Afghan translators' asylum
A Swedish soldier in Afghanistan. Photo: TT

Sweden rethinks Afghan translators' asylum

The Migration Court in Malmö has ruled that Sweden's Migration Board was wrong to reject the residence applications of seven Afghan interpreters without assessing their protection needs. READ  

The Local List
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
Speak Percussion will perform at Connect in Malmö in November. Photo: Connect

Top five winter festivals in Sweden

Autumn has swept into the country and chilly days lie ahead. But there are plenty of winter festivals where you can warm up in the coming months. With tickets already selling fast, here are The Local's top tips. READ  

Business
Swedish Saab plant sheds a third of workers
Workers at the Saab plant in Trollhättan. Photo: TT

Swedish Saab plant sheds a third of workers

Swedish car maker Saab has announced it has axed 155 workers, close to a third of its workforce. READ  

International
Sweden's 'most dangerous art' on sale
A Danish site is selling the works that the Swedish state wants destroyed. Screenshot: www.entartetekunst.dk

Sweden's 'most dangerous art' on sale

Work by controversial jailed Swedish artist Dan Park is on sale online and could reach a gallery in Copenhagen, despite a previous exhibition being pulled. READ  

Society
Sweden is 'second best' place to grow old
Pensioners in Sweden. Photo: TT

Sweden is 'second best' place to grow old

Sweden has dropped to second place in an annual index measuring the quality of life of elderly people in 96 countries around the world. READ  

National
Top Swedish skier killed in Chile avalanche
Andreas Fransson, left. Photo: Markus Alatalo

Top Swedish skier killed in Chile avalanche

UPDATED: The bodies of two of the world's top skiers, Sweden's Andreas Fransson and JP Auclair from Canada, were found on Tuesday after they were reported missing in an avalanche in the Andes. READ  

Politics
Coalition promise to boost welfare and jobs
Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT

Coalition promise to boost welfare and jobs

UPDATED: The Social Democrats and the Greens have agreed to raise unemployment payments and promised to create more jobs in the construction industry, The Local has learned. READ  

National
Ikea recalls elk pasta
Two types of pasta are affected. Photo: IKEA

Ikea recalls elk pasta

Ikea has pulled two different types of elk-shaped pasta from its stores in Sweden. READ  

Presented by Regus
How to get your own great office in Stockholm
A woman using a Regus workspace. Photo: Regus

How to get your own great office in Stockholm

Stockholm's business climate is hotter than ever, which leaves start-ups and business travellers hunting high and low for flexible office space. The solution is easier than they think. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos
Politics
New coalition agrees on defence and migration
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Botkyrka
Education
New government to make school compulsory to 18
Politics
Sweden Democrat wins Deputy Speaker spot
Blog updates

28 September

Spoiled Doyle (Blogweiser) »

"What you gotta watch out for in Sweden is the good stuff. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re_EzUe6xpI In Sweden, it’s the good things you have to watch out for. Video on @TheLocalSweden http://t.co/rAb8eGFdTD pic.twitter.com/w37YYwMXy1 — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) September 29, 2014 " READ »

 

26 September

 (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Autumn swept into Sweden at the start of this week with snow in the north of the country and flooding in the south. As well as a change in the weather, Sweden’s change in political direction became clearer, with Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven formally announcing his party would work with the Greens as..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Swedish scientists sneak Bob Dylan lyrics into articles
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
National
When Italian style meets Swedish simplicity
Lifestyle
Review: Sweden's first alcohol-free nightclub
Gallery
In Pictures: The MS Estonia disaster
Lifestyle
Ten things expat women notice in Sweden
Politics
What's next on Sweden's political stage?
Gallery
Sweden's 2014 election: Most memorable moments
Society
What's on in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 24th
Seaman Oliver Gee with his first lobster
Lifestyle
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Gallery
In Pictures: Fredrik Reinfeldt through the years.
Society
Plucked out of Canada for love and guitars
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

866
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN