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Fair game

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00:00 CEST+02:00
Alert readers may have noticed that Europe is poised on the dawn of a large football tournament. More of that in a moment, but first, if a European politician wants to show that he's a man of the people it's a fair bet that he'll turn up at a football match. It usually backfires for the simple reason that people only tend to go into politics because they were no good at sport. There are, of course, exceptions, and one of them is Sweden's dashing Justice Minister, Thomas Bodström.

For three years in the late 1980s, Bodström was a regular in one of Sweden's top football teams, AIK. Now, of course, he is used to dealing with penalties of a more serious nature but he still finds time to pull up his shorts for the division 5 team Boo FF. Although not enough time, according to his manager.

"I have told him that football has to be his priority," Per Hildingsson told Monday's Aftonbladet. "But it doesn't help."

On Sunday Bodström played his first game of the season - and it didn't go very well. First of all, he arrived 20 minutes after the game started. Chairing a parliamentary committee? Dealing with a case in the High Court? Or maybe it was an emergency ministerial meeting that held him up?

"I was at the cinema with my son," he admitted.

In the end Boo FF lost the game 2-1, a result which Bodström considered to be an injustice.

"I don't usually blame the ref but he missed a clear penalty," he said - a point he made to the man in black during the game.

His outburst earned him a yellow card. Even that didn't stop him enjoying himself - despite the fact that, at 42, he is the oldest in his team.

"It was fun - I kept up better than I thought I would. My boots are older than some of our players."

It's unlikely that any of Sweden's pampered footballing gods will be wearing old boots at Euro 2004, the world's second-most prestigious football tournament, which kicks off in Portugal on Saturday. But the country's expectations are high, with many commentators claiming that this is the best team Sweden has had in years.

The Local has no intention of pulling on its pundit hat, but whether you want to know when to start queuing outside pubs, when to have an early night or just when to avoid phoning Swedish friends, here's the schedule for the first round of games:

June 14 (20.45): Sweden v Bulgaria

Swedes expect nothing less than a resounding victory.

June 18 (20.45): Italy v Sweden

Swedes hope the Italians forget their boots. Otherwise Sweden will probably lose.

June 22 (20.45): Denmark v Sweden

The Battle of Scandinavia. Defeat for Sweden is unthinkable.

From one bunch of over-exposed, sun-basking, glory-seeking players of a largely futile game to another: TV3 is about to begin filming the new series of Robinson, Sweden's favourite desert island game show.

Many papers noted that the contestants are now on the Malaysian island where the show is recorded, but Svenska Dagbladet's report was penned by one Harry Amster, so we'll go with that one.

"Seven men and seven women will compete, scheme, stick the knife into each other and build loose alliances," wrote H. Amster. The show will be screened on TV3 - after seven years on SVT - in the autumn and will be presented by the intimidating Robert Aschberg. The winner will pick up a million crowns - tax free.

"TV viewers are going to be shocked by the realism and the crises contestants will face," said the show's producer, Calle Jansson.

This series will be followed immediately by a celebrity version - somewhat unnecessary, in The Local's opinion, given that merely by being in the show even the non-celebrity contestants find themselves propelled into Sweden's A-list by the time they get off the island.

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