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Surgeon to operate on Swedish football trophy

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Surgeon to operate on Swedish football trophy
11:15 CET+01:00
A former national team doctor will perform keyhole surgery on the Allsvenskan football championship trophy to examine whether its creator left behind a pledge of allegiance to his beloved Stockholm club.

Dr. Magnus Forssblad's surgical skills have been enlisted to determine whether there is any truth to reports that the message "Bajen forever" is inscribed in the ball on the top of the Lennart Johansson Cup, which is awarded to the winners of Sweden's top-flight Allsvenskan.

"We will perform a laparoscopic surgery, like one for a knee. I suggested it as a fun thing so that we do not have to destroy it, but only drill a small hole," Forsblad told newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN) on Thursday.

Bajen is the nickname of Hammarby Fotboll club, located in southern Stockholm, which adopted the nickname as a short form of a mock English pronunciation of Hammarby.

Peter Gustafsson, a colleague of silversmith Ingemar Eklund, who designed the trophy and was a lifelong Hammarby fan, revealed last month that Eklund inscribed the secret message when the trophy was established in 2001.

The revelation came just prior to the 2010 championship final, which was won by Malmö FF.

Initially, Football Association">Swedish Football Association (Svenska Fotbollsförbundet) Chairman Lars-Åke Lagrell announced that no inspection of the trophy would be made, but changed his tune after consulting with secretary general Mikael Santoft.

"We can't have any message in a trophy, so it's very easy - if there is something in there, we will remove it. If not, we will tell the papers that it is as it was before," Lagrell told The Local last month.

Hammarby has won the Allsvenskan only once in its long history, in 2001 - the same year the trophy was established.

Forssblad will drill a 4- to 5-millimetre hole into the ball on top of the 6-kilogram trophy with arthroscopy. A light source at the front will allow him to look inside the cup.

The trophy, named after former UEFA president Johansson, remains in Malmö, but the association hopes to examine it later this month.

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