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Green light for Swedish ‘hooligan-register'

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Green light for Swedish ‘hooligan-register'
10:31 CEST+02:00
Stockholm club Djurgården Football has received the approval needed from the Data Inspection Board (Datainspektionen) to start up a register of blacklisted supporters to keep them out of sports events.

“Hooliganism and criminal behaviour around and at the stadiums is a huge problem, which recent events have shown," said director general Göran Gräsund in a statement on Tuesday.

The register will contain personal information and images of the so called "risk-supporters" so that guards can identify them at the entrances to sports arenas. The register will also contain witness statements, moving pictures from security cameras and other documentation.

If the supporter is under-aged, the register will contain personal information on the parents.

According to the board, the club must guarantee that certain conditions are met.

For the exemption from the data protection act to be finalized, Djurgården must prove that they will inform all involved parties in a clear way.

In addition, the club must show that the data base tools have a high level of IT security to protect the data in the register.

The club had requested initially to be able to keep records for two years, even if the supporter had been taken off the blacklist.

But according to the data inspection board, personal data must be erased from the register as soon as the supporter is cleared.

Only the club's chairman, a security officer and a couple of club officials will have access to the register, which will exist in both a digital version and hard copy.

Transcripts from the register will be available to the Swedish Football Association, prosecutors and police, if requested.

By granting the club the right to register supporter information in this manner the Data Inspection Board has helped to taken a stand against the recent hooligan-related turbulence in the sport.

But if this is the starting point of other clubs wanting to register data and exchange information about blacklisted supporters, the board thinks that sterner measures are warranted.

“If that is the case we believe that special legislation might be needed. We mentioned this to the government as early as 2007 during the investigation into hooliganism at sports events,” Gräslund said.

At Djurgården football club they are pleased with the decision, despite the limitations. The club will now develop a database in order to securely be able to handle sensitive data.

“This is an important decision that gives us the required conditions to keep unwanted elements out of the stadiums. We are starting to work on this immediately,“ said Mats Jonsson, events manager at Djurgården football to the Svenska Dagbladet daily.

Last week the Social Democrats said that they want Sweden to implement new laws requiring known hooligans to report to the police before the start of the next football season.

“Put more surveillance cameras in football stadiums, make sure that convicted hooligans are required to report to police stations, or that they have a curfew in place during the matches,” he told the newspaper.

“And if they don't follow the duty to report or the curfew, they should pay a higher penalty. We have got to take a tough line. No more commissions, talk, or more study circles, but instead we need to give the police more muscle so they can see that hooligans don't get inside arenas," he continued.

The government recently appointed Per Unckel, the county governor of Stockholm, as a national coordinator for anti-hooliganism but gave him two years to prepare a proposal on how to deal with the situation.

New legislation is not the solution to hooligan violence, according to Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, minister for culture and sport.

"We have laws against what has happened in Sweden recently. The problem is that these are not enforced. Blacklisted fans still get into the stadiums,” she said to news agency TT last week.

Adelsohn Liljeroth also said that she shared the view of the clubs that the major problem today is the difficulty clubs experience in identifying blacklisted fans and denying them entry to the events.

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