Pitchside Europe

PSG, Man City… Ostersund? Swedish club strikes gold with Libya deal

Clubs like Paris Saint-Germain (Qatar) and Manchester City (Abu Dhabi) have benefited massively from state-sponsored investments and there looks to be a new club to add to the list.

Swedish club Ostersund are to receive over half a billion crowns (£47 million) to educate Libyan footballers, local media reported on Wednesday.

"From a Swedish perspective, it is absolutely the biggest football-related deal that has been signed," Daniel Kindberg, chairman of Superettan (second-tier) side Ostersund, told Sportbladet.

Kindberg said the five-year deal, funded by the Libyan state, would bring 60 Libyan players to the town from the beginning of March to the end of November, increasing to 250 players in the second year.

The players will move to Ostersund, some 460 kilometres north of Stockholm, where they will study English, computers, sports management and sports administration as well as play football.

According to Sportbladet, a delegation from Libya visited the town in September 2013 and representatives from Ostersund will fly next week to Libya to choose the 60 players who will take part in the first year of the programme.

"This broadens our base unbelievably. It means an awful, awful lot," said Kindberg, whose Superettan budget is estimated to be around 22 million Swedish crowns per year.

Manchester City's owner Sheik Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan (L) waves with chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak

The deal certainly has a similar ring to it to the investments made in City and PSG with a sudden influx of funds and backing from abroad.

It was back in September 2008 that City's owners - The Abu Dhabi United Group, backed by Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan - completed their takeover negotiations and vowed to create a lasting legacy at the club.

Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said at the time: "We are not going to do crazy stuff, but it makes sense for us to build a dynasty."

As for PSG, it was June 2011 that Qatar Sports Investments - established in 2005 by son of the Emir and heir to the Qatari throne, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani - bought a 70 per cent stake in the club.

Now PSG are essentially doing in France what City have been doing over the last couple of seasons in England - blowing all and sundry out of the water when it comes to the transfer market.

Ostersund could potentially emerge in the future as a similar force in the context of Swedish football, and perhaps even beyond.

Reuters / Eurosport