Hooligan Blacklist Beckons for Swedish Sports Thugs

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Claudio Bresciani / AFP / Getty Images

The windscreen of a Bulgarian football team's bus is wrecked after hooligans from Sweden's AIK club reportedly hurled rocks at it outside the Rasunda Stadium in Stockholm on Aug. 19, 2010

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.

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