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Friday, 2 August, 2002, 18:57 GMT 19:57 UK
First Swedish football death
Shrine at the scene of the incident
A note left at the scene: "Dear lads - stop fighting"

A 26-year-old man has died in hospital in Sweden after a clash between rival football fans on Monday, the country's first fatality caused by football-related violence.

The man was kicked in the head in a pre-arranged fight outside a park in southern Stockholm between supporters of the capital's AIK and IFK Gothenburg, Swedish TV and radio reported.

He lived in Stockholm but supported IFK Gothenburg.

The death follows an incident in Norway on Thursday when a mother and son were beaten up after a football game.

The violence comes at a time when Sweden and Norway are working on their bid to host the 2008 European Championship together with Denmark and Finland.


It has always happened - it is just that it takes new forms and then people are surprised by it

Former football hooligan Patrik Asplund

Former football hooligan Patrik Asplund said the serious violence was not about football at all.

"There are a lot of young men who want to be part of a group. They are seeking fellowship. You then do a lot of stupid things in order to be accepted in these groups. It has always happened - it is just that it takes new forms and then people are surprised by it," he told Swedish radio.

Settling scores

Asplund described the clashes as fights between rival "firms", small violent groups who operate on the periphery of football supporters' clubs.

"They organize a meeting in order to settle scores. There are certain youths for whom violence is a hobby."

Monday's fight was between AIK's "Firman boys" and Gothenburg's "Wisemen".


We know which people are involved

Police spokesman Ulf Goeransson

The trial begins in November of 12 "Wisemen" alleged to have inflicted life-threatening injuries on a Hammarby supporter when the two teams played last year.

Mr Asplund believes the death could lead to acts of revenge, although he hopes the rival groups will be chastened by it.

"Other hooligan gangs may try to take revenge, but I also think that many people will stop to think. There is a great difference between getting drunk and getting killed."

Stockholm police are treating the incident as murder.

Stockholm County CID spokesman Ulf Goeransson said the police have increased the numbers of its football intelligence team to handle the case.

Stockholm's waterfront
Two matches in Stockholm have been marred by violence this week

Up to five officers normally work in the football intelligence unit, though Mr Goeransson said this could change if the police have to handle violence away from the stadiums.

The AIK supporters' club Black Army told Swedish radio news it was sorry about what happened but denied that the gang came from its members.

On Thursday, Norwegian radio said a 33-year-old woman and her 17-year-old son, both Rosenborg supporters, were beaten up after their team won against Brann in Bergen.

When they went to drive home from the match, their car was stopped, one man gripped the son in a stranglehold through the car window, and the mother was punched in the face.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

11 Jul 02 | Scotland
08 Mar 02 | Country profiles
24 Apr 02 | Scotland
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