STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - The multi-million euro transfer of Swede Robin Olsen from Danish side FC Copenhagen to Serie A club AS Roma has provided an unexpected boost for a small lower-division club where the national team goalkeeper rediscovered his love of the game.
Malmo side Bunkeflo FF, who compete in the eighth tier of Swedish football, usually have to scrape by financially, but thanks to Olsen’s recent transfer they could see a huge windfall of around 60,000 euros ($70,242) hit their bank account.
As one of the clubs where Olsen played between the ages of 12 and 23, they are entitled to so-called solidarity payments under FIFA rules after Olsen was sold to Roma by the Danes for an initial 8.5 million euros, rising to 12 million with add-ons.
Five percent of the transfer fee will be taken from FC Copenhagen’s cut and distributed among the clubs where Olsen learned his trade, including Bunkeflo.
Not bad for a club used to raising its funds from a combination of cheap membership fees, local sponsors and hot dog and coffee sales on match days.
“A big sum like this could of course contribute in terms of security and flexibility,” club chairman Calle Wadenhammar told Reuters.
“I’d like to see it used in a way that benefits the whole area, making spontaneous football and activities possible for the kids who are there,” he added.
Struggling to make a breakthrough as a young keeper, Olsen dropped from the third tier of Swedish football to join Bunkeflo in 2010.
“I wanted to find happiness and joy again - all my mates, my close friends, were playing here at Bunkeflo. It was important to me to get that happiness back,” Olsen previously told Reuters in an interview.
Four years later he was playing for Malmo FF in the Champions League before moving to Greek side PAOK and then on to FC Copenhagen. He also established himself as first-choice keeper for Sweden before his big-money move to Roma.
“I know how much it (the money) means to them, all the kids running around there, it makes me happy,” the 28-year-old told newspaper Aftonbladet.
No matter what happens in the rest of his career, Olsen will always be welcome at Bunkeflo’s home ground of Brovallen after the windfall.
“If he’s available for congratulations, we’d like to celebrate him,” chairman Calle Wadenhammar said.
($1 = 0.8542 euros)
Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Christian Radnedge