Tributes for Malmö after stunning play-off victory

Swedish star footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic was among those celebrating after his former Malmö club overturned a deficit against Celtic to reach the Champions League for the second year running.

Tributes for Malmö after stunning play-off victory
Malmö FF coach Åge Hareide hugs Yoshimar Yotún. Photo: Andreas Hillergren/TT

Celtic crashed out of the Champions League on Tuesday night as Malmö claimed a 2-0 victory in the second leg of their play-of round clash in Sweden to progress 4-3 on aggregate.

Malmö, who were defeated by the Glaswegians last week, opened the scoring in the 23rd minute when Markus Rosenberg, suspended for the first leg, headed a corner past Craig Gordon.

The Scots had a Nir Bitton goal controversially chopped off just before the break before Felipe Carvalho's goal in the 54th minute put the Swedish side through to the lucrative group stages of the Champions League for the second year running.

And Sweden's national striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who played for the team 1994-2001, was among those leading the wave of congratulations pouring in for the southern Swedes after the match.

“MFF is starting to get used to Champions League. Totally wonderful and I hope that I will get to experience Champions League in Malmö on the pitch. Big congratulations!” commented the footballer on social media.

Swedish footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Malmö captain and forward Rosenberg, meanwhile, said he would not shy away from a clash with Ibrahimovic's Paris Saint-Germain on home turf.

“It would be fun for the supporters with Zlatan in Malmö. Not that I would have that many duels with him – we're not involved on the pitch in the same way,” he told regional newspaper Sydsvenskan.

Buoyed by a boisterous support on Tuesday evening, it was Rosenberg who opened the scoring for Malmö. He made a short dash into the six-yard box for a corner and leapt above Virgil van Dijk to glance a header over the head of Janko, who was guarding the far post.

Malmö FF captain Markus Rosenberg. Photo: Andreas Hillergren/TT

Griffiths was lucky to escape with just a booking when he kneed Malmö defender Anton Tinnerholm in the groin in an off-the-ball incident before Celtic had a goal ruled out in the controversial circumstances in the 42 minute.

A corner appeared to hit the arm of Malmö defender Kari Arnason before Bitton put the rebound into the net but Serbian referee Milorad Mazic was quick to disallow it.

In the second half there was nothing the goalkeeper could do to stop Malmö doubling their advantage from the resultant corner when Felipe Carvalho's headed flick-on ricocheted off Boyata and crossed the line before Gordon could scramble it clear.

For the Hoops it is the second successive year they have fallen at this hurdle and the Scottish champions must now be content with a place in the draw for the group stages of the Europa League.

Celtic manager Ronny Deila was less than enchanted at the display.

“I think we had a very poor performance,” said the Norwegian.

“The whole team looked frightened and scared when they played. No one wanted the ball and we lost the ball in dangerous situations all the time.”

Malmö FF are through to the Champions League. Photo: Andreas Hillergren/TT


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.”