Swedish authorities are hoping troublemakers at sporting events will think twice about their behavior — or face getting blacklisted.
The Scandinavian country is considering a national sports-hooligan registry following a spate of violent episodes, mainly at soccer and ice-hockey games. In the latest incident earlier this month, supporters of a Stockholm soccer team clashed with fans from a visiting Polish team in the Swedish capital after a European-league qualifier.
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Sweden’s privacy watchdogs this week gave the scheme their backing, as long as lawmakers make changes to safeguard personal information, the English-language news website The Local reports. “There’s always a risk that information kept in these types of sensitive registers will fall into the wrong hands,” cautioned Goran Graslund, director general of the Data Inspection Board, in a statement.
The problem has divided authorities in the notoriously liberal northern European state. A proposal by the Swedish Parliament to force known hooligans to report to authorities prior to major sporting events was condemned by Bjorn Eriksson, the national coordinator for sports-related crime, as a serious infringement on citizens’ freedom of movement. He instead favors treating persistent offenders like those who commit domestic abuse — via restraining orders combined with electronic tagging.