Malmö sets sights on Champions League

Swedish champions Malmö FF hosts Glasgow Rangers on Wednesday evening hoping to preserve their lead from the first leg and take a huge step to becoming the first Swedish team to qualify for the Champions League in 14 years.

Malmö sets sights on Champions League
Malmö celebrates winning the 2010 Allsvenskan title

Rangers will however need to rewrite the history books if they are to progress in the third round qualifier at Swedbank Stadium in Malmö on Wednesday.

Daniel Larsson scored a vital away goal at Ibrox last week as Rangers went

down to a 1-0 defeat which leaves the Scottish champions hopes of making the lucrative group stages of the competition hanging by a thread.

History is against the Scottish champions as they have never triumphed in a European tie after losing the first leg at home in 55 years of competing with

the continental elite.

Malmö are hoping to become the first Swedish team since Stockholm’s AIK in 1997 to qualify for the Champions League “proper”.

The “Sky Blues” have an illustrious European history, losing a European Cup final to Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest in 1979.

In their favour in Wednesday’s clash is the fact that the Old Firm side will be without the support of their fans in Malmö after UEFA banned them for one match for discriminatory chanting at their Europa League match against PSV Eindhoven last season.

But after picking up their first win of the season with a 2-0 victory away to St Johnstone on Saturday the Bosnian defender says Ally McCoist’s side can upset the odds and progress against the Swedes.

“All I can say is sorry for the result against Malmo at Ibrox but we still have the chance to go through. Why not? We know we can play better and if we take our game to a higher level then we definitely have a chance,” Rangers player Sasa Papac said.

“It’s important to make the Champions League proper because it’s the best stage in the world for a footballer and everyone in our team likes to play in it.”

“We must keep a clean sheet in Malmo if we want to go to the next stage.

I’ve never played in Sweden before, this will be a first but I’m ready for the


Malmö’s preparation for Wednesday’s game were disrupted when their match

against Djurdgården on Saturday was abandoned after just 11 minutes due to

fan disorder.

Fireworks were lobbed on to the pitch at the Swedbank Stadium causing referee Martin Hansson to call the teams off on safety grounds.

Rangers meanwhile have no injury worries going into the game and are hopeful they will be successful in their appeal to have defender Dorin Goian available for the

match, despite a delay in the defender’s registration papers being submitted.

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US criminologist lauds Malmö for anti-gang success

The US criminologist behind the anti-gang strategy designed to reduce the number of shootings and explosions in Malmö has credited the city and its police for the "utterly pragmatic, very professional, very focused" way they have put his ideas into practice.

US criminologist lauds Malmö for anti-gang success
Johan Nilsson/TT

In an online seminar with Malmö mayor Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, David Kennedy, a professor at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said implementing his Group Violence Intervention (GVI) strategy had gone extremely smoothly in the city.

“What really stands out about the Malmö experience is contrary to most of the places we work,” he said. “They made their own assessment of their situation on the ground, they looked at the intervention logic, they decided it made sense, and then, in a very rapid, focused and business-like fashion, they figured out how to do the work.”

He said that this contrasted with police and other authorities in most cities who attempt to implement the strategy, who tend to end up “dragging their feet”, “having huge amounts of political infighting”, and coming up with reasons why their city is too different from other cities where the strategy has been a success.

Malmö’s Sluta Skjut (Stop Shooting) pilot scheme was extended to a three-year programme this January, after its launch in 2018 coincided with a reduction in the number of shootings and explosions in the city.

“We think it’s a good medicine for Malmö for breaking the negative trend that we had,” Malmö police chief Stefan Sintéus said, pointing to the fall from 65 shootings in 2017 to 20 in 2020, and in explosions from 62 in 2017 to 17 in 2020.

A graph from Malmö police showing the reduction in the number of shootings from 2017 to 2020. Graph: Malmö Police
A graph from Malmö police showing the reduction in the number of explosions in the city between 2017 and 2020. Graph: Malmö Police


In their second evaluation of the programme, published last month, Anna-Karin Ivert, Caroline Mellgren, and Karin Svanberg, three criminologists from Malmö University, reported that violent crime had declined significantly since the program came into force, and said that it was possible that the Sluta Skjut program was partly responsible, although it was difficult to judge exactly to what extent. 

The number of shootings had already started to decline before the scheme was launched, and in November 2019, Sweden’s national police launched Operation Rimfrost, a six-month crackdown on gang crime, which saw Malmö police reinforced by officers from across Sweden.

But Kennedy said he had “very little sympathy” for criminologists critical of the police’s decision to launch such a massive operation at the same time as Sluta Skjut, making it near impossible to evaluate the programme.

“Evaluation is there to improve public policy, public policy is not there to provide the basis for for sophisticated evaluation methodology,” he argued.

“When people with jobs to do, feel that they need to do things in the name of public safety, they should follow their professional, legal and moral judgement. Not doing something to save lives, because it’s going to create evaluation issues, I think, is simply privileging social science in a way that it doesn’t deserve.”

US criminologist David Kennedy partaking in the meeting. Photo: Richard Orange

Sluta Skjut has been based around so-called ‘call-ins’, in which known gang members on probation are asked to attend meetings, where law enforcement officials warn them that if shootings and explosions continue, they and the groups around them will be subject to intense focus from police.

At the same time, social workers and other actors in civil society offer help in leaving gang life.

Of the 250-300 young men who have been involved in the project, about 40 have been sent to prison, while 49 have joined Malmö’s ‘defector’ programme, which helps individuals leave gangs.

Kennedy warned not to focus too much on the number of those involved in the scheme who start to work with social services on leaving gang life.

“What we find in in practice is that most of the impact of this approach doesn’t come either because people go to prison or because they take services and leave gang life,” he said.

“Most of the impact comes from people simply putting their guns down and no longer being violent.”

“We think of the options as continuing to be extremely dangerous, or completely turning one’s life around. That’s not realistic in practice. Most of us don’t change that dramatically ever in our lives.”

He stressed the importance of informal social control in his method, reaching those who gang members love and respect, and encouraging them to put pressure on gang members to abstain from gun violence.

“We all care more about our mothers than we care about the police, and it turns out that if you can find the guy that this very high risk, very dangerous person respects – literally, you know, little old ladies will go up to him and get his attention and tell him to behave himself. And he will.”