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Ostersund granted license to play in Sweden’s top league

December 23, 2019 GMT

OSTERSUND, Sweden (AP) — Ostersund was granted a license to play in Sweden’s top league on Monday, a month after soccer officials judged the club should not operate at the elite level because of its perilous financial position.

The Swedish Football Association said the decision to strip Ostersund of an elite license for the 2020 season was overturned by the Board of Appeal.

“That we can now play in Allsvenskan next season is a wonderful Christmas present,” Ostersund chief executive Lennart Ivarsson said. “We have always planned our business for playing in Allsvenskan and now that work is intensifying.”

IK Brage was set to be promoted to Allsvenskan to take the place of Ostersund, but will remain in the second-tier Superettan.

Ostersund, a club from a sleepy city in central Sweden which rose from the amateur ranks in 2011 to the top league in 2015 and won the Swedish Cup in 2017, has been one of the success stories of Swedish soccer in recent times. Having qualified for the Europa League by virtue of winning the cup, Ostersund advanced to the knockout stage before losing to Arsenal despite winning the second leg 2-1 at Emirates Stadium.

However, the mastermind behind Ostersund’s rise, Daniel Kindberg, was sentenced to three years in prison last month for funneling millions of kronor in taxpayer money into the club. He was banned from doing business for five years and ordered to pay damages, though he is to appeal against the conviction.

Ostersund recently said it needed to raise 10 million kronor ($1 million) to pay creditors and tax authorities in order to continue operating. Contributions came in from supporters, local businesses, and even its former coach Graham Potter, who was in charge from 2010-18 and now manages in the English Premier League with Brighton.

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