‘Fight hooliganism like organized crime’

'Fight hooliganism like organized crime'
Sweden’s main crime prevention agency has proposed fighting football hooliganism using methods similar to those employed to fight organized drug gangs.

“There are similarities between the groups of high-risk supporters known as firms and groups which supply the Swedish market with drugs,” writes Jan Andersson, the head of the National Council for Crime Prevention (Brottsförebyggande rådet – Brå), along with Lars Korsell a lawyer with the agency, in an article in Dagens Nyheter.

“The work which is directed toward fighting organized crime can therefore be put to good use against the organized firms [of football supporters].”

The approach entails identifying and arresting key people, the pair explains.

Brå has been tasked by the government to come up with suggestions for how to stop the violent clashes among supporters that frequently mar matches in Sweden’s top football league.

The agency wants to see the appointment of a national coordinator to oversee efforts and develop a national action plan.

In order to give games a more festival-like atmosphere and entice a wider audience to arrive earlier to Sweden’s football stadiums, musical performances and interviews with high profile athletes could also be arranged.

The investigators believe such activities would help minimize the heated atmosphere currently found outside of many arenas.

If crowds arrive earlier there is also less likelihood of disturbances breaking out at the gates and better conditions for searching the spectators to protect against the smuggling in of alcohol and fireworks.

Another suggestion is to play matches designated as risky, such as derbies, at midday on weekends, an approach which was tested over the weekend in a match between Stockholm’s AIK and cross-country rival IFK Göteborg.

The game ended in a 0 – 0 draw and there were few reports of disturbances.