Ostersund FK in financial crisis just 20 months after beating Arsenal

BY BBC.COM - Oct 11, 2019 at 1:25pm 100

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It's February 2018 and Ostersunds FK have just won 2-1 at Arsenal in the Europa League.

The team - managed by Englishman Graham Potter - are out of the competition on aggregate, but victory at Emirates Stadium is a fitting end to a fairytale 14-game run to the last 16.

Their achievement is all the more remarkable when you consider it is only eight years since they were in the fourth division.

But now, 20 months on from that memorable night in London, the club are facing a fight for their future.

"For us football lovers there is no alternative," read a club statement posted on their website this week. "Ostersund without an elite football team is unthinkable."

The club's financial figures are stark.

They need to raise 15m Swedish krona (kr) - about £1.2m - by the end of the year to keep the club running, with 10m kr of that sum to be paid by the end of the month. So far 6m kr has been raised.

A 1.4m kr tax bill needs to be paid by 2 November.

Fans and companies are being asked to donate to the cause, and the club desperately needs sponsorship.

"We ask you to think back on all the wonderful memories and what joy and pride we experienced together with OFK," the club's statement said. "If we are to experience it again, we must together help to get out of this crisis."

Potter - now managing Brighton in the Premier League - has donated, as have his coaching staff and former players.

Former chairman Daniel Kindberg was the man who hired Potter and oversaw the club's rise to the top flight for the first time in 2015. Winning the Swedish Cup brought European football to the northern city.

Kindberg has been on trial in Sweden accused of serious financial crimes - accusations he denies - with the judge's verdict expected on 5 November.

The club say they have lost 7m krona in sponsorship revenue and failed to bring in 20m kr in player sales and 5m kr in matchday revenue that they had budgeted for.

They are also under a transfer ban from Fifa over the transfer of Saman Ghoddos to French club Amiens, a decision they intend to appeal against at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

"It is a critical situation," manager Ian Burchnall told BBC Sport. "This has come quickly and out of nowhere considering where the club was a short period of time ago.

"The club had an unbelievable journey, but a lot of things behind the scenes have happened since then.

"We are not the only club in Sweden who have economic problems. And it is so common in football - just look at Bury and Bolton.

"It is really hard to compete at the top and create a sustainable model."

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