The four Swedish clubs that are about to start their qualification campaign for the international European tournaments share just over SEK 6.5 million. The money comes from the so-called European Fund, which is financed by Swedish elite football’s main sponsor Unibet. The European Fund exist to help Swedish clubs reach the group stage in either UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League or in UEFA Europa Conference League.
“Swedish clubs qualifying for international games is incredibly important for the development of Swedish football, both sportingly and financially. We are happy if we can be a contributing part in Swedish clubs succeeding when reaching a group stage in Europe”, says Anders Falk, Sponsor Manager at Unibet.
Every year, Unibet fills the European Fund with SEK 5 million. Money that needs to be refunded times 1.5 if reaching the group stage of any international competition. Any surplus will then be added to next year’s fund so that future Swedish clubs that qualify for Europe will have as good conditions as possible to reach a future group stage.
In 2021/2022, Malmö FF managed to qualify for the group stage in the Champions League. This means that the 2022 European Fund is higher than last year. The decided budget for 2022/2023 is a total of SEK 6,665,000. The remaining part of the surplus goes into next year’s European Fund.
The money in the European Fund is distributed so that the reigning Swedish champions get 50% from the pot for the qualification campaign to UEFA Champions League, while the other three clubs receive 1/6 each of the money to the qualification games for the UEFA Europa Conference League. In 2022, Malmö FF qualifies for the Champions League, starting in round one (Q1) while AIK, Djurgårdens IF and IF Elfsborg qualify for the Europa Conference League, starting in round two (Q2).
The 2022 European Fund:
Malmö FF – SEK 3,332,500
AIK – SEK 1,110,833
Djurgårdens IF – SEK 1,110,833
IF Elfsborg – SEK 1,110,833
“A big goal with the Unibet sponsorship is for Swedish elite football to be as successful as possible. The European Fund is one of the initiatives towards that goal, where the idea is that this money will increase the opportunities for our Swedish clubs to make a proper campaign to reach the group stage in one of the European Cups. There is an economic upside for the teams that reaches a group stage, but they way getting there demands good economy since there is a lot of travel and the need for a skilled squad. Unibet hope that these millions from the European Fund will be able to help a bit on that journey”, says Anders Falk.
Sweden is currently in 23rd place in UEFA’s league rankings. A good summer can make Allsvenskan advance many places in the rankings, but then a group stage are required for at least one of the clubs, preferably more.
“Both the league and the clubs are very grateful that Unibet helps the Swedish teams to prepare for the qualification campaign in the absolute best way. This can be the difference between going out or moving on, and we all know what it means for us if Swedish teams succeeds internationally. If more than one club should reach the group stage, there are good opportunities to advance significantly in UEFA’s league ranking. This would give more Swedish clubs the opportunity to compete in Europe, and at a higher level”, says Mats Enquist, CEO of Swedish Professional Football Leagues.
Sweden’s international result over the past five years:
2017/2018: Östersunds FK through from UEFA Europa League group stage – knocked out by Arsenal
2018/2019: Malmö FF through from UEFA Europa League group stage – knocked out by Chelsea
2019/2020: Malmö FF through from UEFA Europa League group stage – knocked out by Wolfsburg
2020/2021: No Swedish club in a group stage
2021/2022: Malmö FF into UEFA Champions League group stage