Fan dies in clashes before match in Sweden

Swedish police try to handle supporters of Stockholm football club Djurgarden that stormed the pitch during a Swedish league match at Olympia in Helsingborg on March 30, 2014

A Swedish football supporter has died from head injuries Sunday following violent clashes between rival fans ahead of a match in Helsingborg in southern Sweden. "He was hit in the head -- there was a lot of trouble before the match," police spokeswoman Ewa-Gun Westford told AFP. "We managed to keep them apart but people can always get through the crowd and fights can break out." The 44-year-old man was taken to hospital with severe head injuries received during fighting in the town centre -- 30 minutes before the All Svenskan league match between Stockholm team Djurgaarden and Helsingborg -- and died in hospital soon after the game started. Just 40 minutes into the match Djurgaarden supporters began chanting "murderer, murderer" and invaded the pitch, forcing the referee to cancel the match. "It is incredibly tragic for this guy's family, for football and for all of society really," Jesper Jansson, head of the Helsingborg team told news agency TT. The circumstances of the man's death were unclear and no arrests had been made late on Sunday afternoon. Fighting broke out between supporters early on Saturday afternoon and at least five people were taken to hospital and more than 30 were detained by police. The Swedish government recently introduced plans to bar known hooligans from football stadiums for up to three years with proposals to ban the use of face masks often worn by extremist supporter gangs. "We've done a lot to make it safer inside stadiums ... but we know there are strong emotions around football -- fighting breaks out before and after matches," said Sports Minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth. "We still have a lot more to do ... It's a dark day for Swedish football." It was the second death in Sweden in football hooligan-related violence -- a supporter died during fighting in Stockholm city centre in 2002 during a game between Gothenburg and Stockholm team AIK.

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