Football clubs in Sweden are trying to come to terms with rules that allow only eight supporters at top-flight games while shopping centres and animal parks are can host many more people.
The Swedish top flight started its 2021 season last weekend but was not given an exemption to the rule that only eight people can gather outside, despite presenting a clear plan for how fans could attend safely.
Sweden has one of the world’s highest rates of coronavirus cases per capita at the moment and the general secretary of Swedish Elite Football said he understood that restrictions had to remain in place but queried why sport was being treated differently to other areas of life.
“We have a feeling that we are not being seen as the large operation we actually are,” Mats Enqvist said recently. “It feels easier for the health authorities to find solutions for shopping centres and bars than for us. I don’t know why really.”
Fans in Sweden focused on to the fact that the Skansen animal park in Stockholm was allowed 5,000 people on the day that AIK could have eight supporters at their 2-0 win against Degerfors.
The eight fans at the game did their best to create an atmosphere at the 50,000-capacity Friends Arena but, unsurprisingly, struggled. The Degerfors forward Victor Edvardsen said he wished there had been many more fans despite being the target of the eight present.
Edvardsen, who used to play for one of AIK’s main rivals, IFK Göteborg, could hear the fans sing “everyone in Gothenburg smells like fish” and told Fotbollskanalen: “It was a shame it was only eight, it would have been much better if it had been 50,000 people shouting it. But I did hear that they were shouting it. It was pretty funny actually.”