Flare causes stand fire at Swedish football match

Flare causes stand fire at Swedish football match
One woman suffered burns and four people were apprehended by police after a flare caused a blaze on the terraces during a top-flight football derby between two local teams GAIS and IFK Göteborg, at the Ullevi arena in Gothenburg on Monday.

Just as the teams had lined up, flares were lit up on the GAIS supporter stand. According to local paper Göteborgsposten, there were three loud bangs from different areas of the stands.

Referee Stefan Johanneson made an on-the-spot decision to send the teams back to the changing rooms.

“If flares are lit we will break and leave the pitch. This rule is new for this year, that’s why we never have done it before,” he said to the Expressen daily.

But it wasn’t until the players were safely off the pitch that the fire spread to the GAIS supporter banners. The flames reached several metres up in the air and staff came running with fire extinguishers.

They managed to quell the flames however and the game could resume about five minutes later.

According to the Swedish football association representative Gerhard Sager, who was on the scene, there were four or possible five flares lit by supporters.

Though this is not the first flares he has witnessed go off during a game, it is the worst incident so far.

“It is disturbing and awful. It was also rather scary,” he said to daily Expressen.

According to Sager, GAIS supporters can expect a potentially hefty fine for the incident.

“I don’t know how much it will be, though. When we are only dealing with flares I know what to expect, but this is fire as well,” he told the newspaper.

A woman among the GAIS supporters suffered burns in the incident.

“She has reported the incident to the police but she chose to stay and finish watching the game, so the injuries were minor,“ said Ulla Brehm of the Gothenburg police information department to Expressen.

According to the police two supporters were picked up straight after the incident and two others for reckless behaviour a little later.

“It was a minor scuffle, but when we got several police officers to the scene it ebbed out,“ Brehm told local paper Göteborgsposten.

The police have started a forensic investigation of the area where the fire flared up.

“We are working on identifying more of the perpetrators. We have good footage including some moving pictures from inside the arena,” Brehm said to Expressen.

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