Ostersund denied license to play in Sweden’s top league

OSTERSUND, Sweden (AP) — Swedish soccer team Ostersund was denied a license to play in the top division next season because of its financial problems on Tuesday.

The Swedish Football Association’s licensing board decided Ostersund “does not meet the elite licensing criteria ... for continued operation throughout the next year.”

Ostersund said it will appeal against the ruling. As it stands, the club will drop out of Allsvenskan and into the second-tier Superettan for the 2020 season. Ostersund initially said it would be playing in the third-tier Division I if it lost the appeal.

Ostersund recently said it needed to raise 10 million kronor ($1 million) to pay creditors and tax authorities in order to continue operating.

The club from central Sweden rose from the amateur ranks in 2011 to the top league in 2015, and won the Swedish Cup in 2017. That qualified Ostersund for the Europa League, where it advanced to the knockout stage before losing to Arsenal despite winning the second leg 2-1 at Emirates Stadium.

Having its license denied is the latest blow to Ostersund after its former chairman, Daniel Kindberg, the man regarded as the mastermind behind the club’s rise, was sentenced this month to three years in prison after being convicted of serious financial crimes. Kindberg is appealing against the conviction.

As a result of Ostersund’s demotion, IK Brage will be promoted to Allsvenskan. Brage finished third in Superettan last season to earn a playoff against Kalmar FF, which was third-to-last in Allsvenskan. Kalmar won the two-legged playoff 4-2 on aggregate.

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