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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Hooligans infiltrate Oslo club’s ‘Klan’

Oslo’s major football club, Vålerenga, has long been known for its highly enthusiastic fans organized in a group known as the “Klan.” They have nothing to do with the white supremacist group in the US with a similar name, but now Oslo police suspect they’ve been infiltrated by football hooligans and even neo-Nazis intent on causing trouble.

“There’s been a shift among the supporters at Vålerenga,” Einar Aas, an inspector for the Oslo Police District, told newspaper Aftenposten on Friday. “We can confirm that there’s now an unfortunate connection to crime and criminal groups.”

Unwelcome ‘support’
Aas, who has long worked on cases involving gangs in Oslo and leads the Oslo police’s organized crime section, declined to elaborate. Aftenposten, however, reported that Vålerenga’s “Klan” fans are in an uproar because of a closed group of other fans calling themselves the “Isko Boys” who are now “supporting” Vålerenga and spoiling the fun for other fans in the process. Aftenposten also reported that the Isko Boys allegedly have ties to the motorcycle club Bandidos, which police claim has many members with criminal convictions.

The Isko Boys, once described by a member as “an arena where men can be men” and are “allowed to be aggressive,” have now managed to occupy a section of the grandstands at Norway’s national football stadium Ullevaal in Oslo, which Vålerenga uses as its home turf. They reportedly believe that football and violence go together. Aftenposten reported they were badly beaten during a clash with fans supporting Swedish football club Djurgården early this month, but continue to invite brawls with other groups of “casuals,” the word often used for violent football fans.

During a match against rival football club Stabæk in Bærum last month, however, one of Vålerenga’s own “Klan” members was allegedly assaulted by members of the Isko Boys. The Vålerenga supporter had come to the aid of a female Vålerenga worker who was being accosted by Isko Boys members because she has been involved in court cases against Isko Boys members.

Ties to racist violence
“It hadn’t really bothered us ordinary fans if these people want to meet in a forest and fight until the blood is flowing,” one Vålerenga Klan member, who didn’t want to be identified, told Aftenposten. “But now there have been several episodes where they have attacked our own supporters, too. That’s not acceptable.”

In another criminal case coming up in an Oslo court this month, three men are charged with racist violence and Aftenposten reported that at least one of them is a member of Isko Boys. He reportedly is known in several neo-Nazi groups both in Norway and abroad, and charged with unprovoked violence against two Muslim men on an Oslo street last winter.

Both police and Vålerenga officials have tried to use what they call “dialogue” among the fans, to quell the violence. Now police are also resorting to restricting violent fans’ access to matches, bars and cafés used by the football club’s ordinary fans and other locations. Police were to be on hand at this weekend’s upcoming match between Vålerenga and Rosenborg in Trondheim. Berglund



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