Europa League - AIK enjoy cost benefits despite Europa League struggle

Never mind that they have collected only one point from their first three Europa League group games, Swedish club AIK are happy to be getting experience - and a good income - from taking part in Europe's second-tier club competition.

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Europa League - AIK enjoy cost benefits despite Europa League struggle
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AIK Solna's Kwame Karikari (L) celebrates his goal against PSV Eindhoven with teammate Martin Lorentzon (R) during their Europa League match

"As soon as you qualify for the group stages, it's profitable," managing director Thomas Edselius told Reuters ahead of Thursday's Group F tie with PSV Eindhoven.

Edselius said the club, who are bottom of their group, hoped to make a profit of 17 million to 18 million Swedish crowns (£1.59 million to £1.68 million) from their participation.

"You get around 11 million crowns for qualifying for the group stage. Revenues will be around 30 million, costs around 12-13 million," he said.

For the players, the competition offers a chance to showcase their talent around the continent.

"You're measuring yourself against top opposition, so if you do well there it's a lot easier for scouts to see that," said striker Henok Goitom, who netted the club's first goal in the group stage at home to Dnipro.

"If you want to move abroad, the Europa League is a great situation to show what you can do," Goitom told Reuters.

"Scouts think that meeting teams in the Allsvenskan (Swedish league) is not an accurate measurement, compared to when you meet, say, PSV or Napoli away."

Coach Andreas Alm said that his younger players were benefiting from the experience, adding: "I see it as the more games you play together at a higher level, the better you get."

Despite all the benefits, however, AIK have paid a price at home for their European adventure.

In the three autumn league games directly after Europa League ties, AIK collected only two points out of a possible nine. At one point serious contenders for the Swedish title, they ended up finishing a disappointing fourth.

"There is a physical part; we play on the Thursday while our opponent in the Allsvenskan has a week in between games," Alm told Reuters at a media briefing.

"Then there's a tactical part, where the opponent can prepare for us for a week, with probably a couple of extra training sessions.

"And there's a mental part - even if you don't play in the European game, you're travelling, you might sit on the bench and then play at the weekend."

By the time they play their final Europa League group game away to Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk on Dec. 6, AIK will have played 14 games more than many of their domestic rivals, who have just finished a 30-game domestic league.

Asked whether he would prefer to win the Swedish league or be involved in Europe, Alm said: "I want an Allsvenskan gold medal ahead of everything else. That's how it is, but it doesn't work like that."

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