Malmö fans vow to ‘blow Scots off the pitch’

Malmö are looking ahead to their chance to gain revenge against Celtic in their second clash with the Glaswegians in the Champions League play-off on Tuesday.

Malmö fans vow to 'blow Scots off the pitch'
Malmö FF lost by 3-2 to Celtic in the Champions League play-off on Wednesday. Photo: AP Photo/Scott Heppell

The Swedish champions lost 3-2 in the first leg of their play-off round match against Celtic last week after dealing a blow to the Scottish side with an incredible late comeback.

But the pressure from the almost 50,000 Celtic fans loudly cheering their home team from the stands at Parkhead proved to be too much for Malmö who did not make it all the way.

On Monday, the southern Swedish team was warming up for the second leg of the play-off round, this time facing Celtic on home turf. And its fans promised to exert their revenge.

“Forget everything we've done so far. We now set the bar for what can be achieved at a football stadium and together we create an atmosphere that will blow the Scots off the pitch,” read a message on Malmö FF's website from the club's supporters.

“We are the storm. And when the storm blows in we have to give everything,” it added.

Their words echo those of Malmö's coach Åge Hareide after the defeat in Glasgow.

“We will attack them at home and play our normal game and hopefully it will be enough. (…) Our fans have the habit of backing us fantastically at home. We will attack and we are up for it,” the Norwegian told a press conference on Wednesday.

READ ALSO: Malmö keep Champions League hopes alive

Malmö, who are looking to make the group stages for the second successive season after becoming the first Swedish club in the tournament for more than a decade last year, will not be phased by the challenge of overturning the deficit.

They came back from a 2-0 first-leg defeat to advance 3-2 against Red Bull Salzburg in the previous qualifying round.

But Celtic's coach Ronny Deila promised not to give the Swedish team an easy ride, saying that his side has learned its lessons from the previous match.

“We are very irritated with the last thing that happened in the game,” he told reporters on Monday, referring to Malmö's second away goal by Jo Inge Berget at Celtic Park last week. “But we have to move on and know that we are ahead and we are going to do this in Malmö.”

“We are one goal ahead and they have to beat us in Malmö. It was an okay result, but it could have been a better result.”

Celtic suffered heartache at this stage last season when they were eliminated 2-1 on aggregate by Slovenian side NK Maribor.

But the 1967 winners – the first British club to win the European Cup – believe they have a better chance of progress this time.

“Of course we can beat Malmö away. But they have to beat us, and that is a positive thing. They have to attack us and that can suit us,” added Deila.


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.”