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Swedish football hooligans strike again

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Swedish football hooligans strike again
09:07 CEST+02:00
A hotly contested Allsvenskan football match between Malmö FF and Stockholm's Djurgården was terminated after only 12 minutes of play Saturday afternoon after several fireworks were thrown onto the pitch.

It remains unclear which team will be awarded the win for the suspended match.

"With so many and powerful bangs, we didn't dare continue to play," head referee Martin Hansson told Canal Plus.

While Malmö took an early 1-0 lead in the home match at the city's Swedbank Arena, fireworks began raining down on the field after only six minutes.

By the 12 minute mark, the lead referee Martin Hansson blew his whistle again and halted the match.

All players evacuated the field but the firecrackers continued.

Seven were thrown in total, with one landing near a Canal-plus technician during the few minutes of play, causing the media to vacate that area of the arena.

”I did not notice the bangs at first because I was so concentrated on the match. But then there was no other option than to break. All agreed that the security was not enough,” Hansson told Canal Plus.

While players and fans waited for the final decision from officials, a person waving a Malmö FF towel provokingly walked into the Djurgården supporters' side, sparking a fight.

After nearly 30 minutes of deliberations between officials, police, and security personnel, the decision was made to cancel the match altogether.

"You can't play football under these conditions," said Hansson.

"It's a tragedy; I feel empty."

Secretary General for Swedish Elite Football (Svensk Elitfotboll, SEF) Tommy Theorin was present at the Swedbank Stadium and expressed his frustration over the day's events.

”I am appalled. It is sad and not good for premier division football,” he told newspaper Dagens Industri (DN).

According to local newspaper Sydsvenskan, hundreds of Djurgården supporters were let into the stadium without going through complete security checks.

”We made the decision that it was safer to quickly bring in all the fans on-time to the match than to check them as thoroughly as usually do,” supporter police Henrik Qvist told Sydsvenskan.

It remains uncertain which fan base threw the firecrackers.

While Malmö supporter police told the TT news agency that the fireworks came from Djurgården section, Canal-Plus reported they also came from the section above where Malmö fans were seated.

The Swedish Football Association's disciplinary board will review videos from the stadium and reports from the referees and football clubs before determining which team will be assigned the victory.

”The main responsibility for the security of the arena is the home club, it is responsible for everything except the sections that are assigned to the away team supporters, and at present we do not know where the explosions came from,” Chairman of the Football Association's disciplinary committee Khennet Tall Inger told DN.

The Board is expected to decide within 14 days.

Police had not yet made any arrests and no further trouble was reported after the cancelled match, the third of the season interrupted by fireworks from the stands.

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