Miss Selfishness?

Ballon d’Or winner. Check.
Hat trick in a Champions League final.
Going to the World Cup.

By Marius Lien and Lars Johnsen
Photo: Christian Belgaux
Translated by Lars Johnsen

Norway, ever-present at both the European Championship and the World Cup, walked off the pitch in Deventer, the Netherlands on 24 July 2017 having lost 1-0 to Denmark in the last group match of the Euros. Katrine Veje’s 5th minute winner sealed the match and the worst ever performance in an international tournament for the Norwegians. They lost all group games. They failed to score a single goal.

The numbers told only half the story, they’d been outclassed and outplayed much of the time.

Ada Hegerberg, one of the players walking off the pitch that night, would later announce she’d walked out on the national team completely. She simply quit, she’d had enough. According to the Lyon striker, the Norwegian FA (NFF) didn’t take its women’s national team, or the women’s game in general, seriously. Preparation was sub-par. The well-being of the Norwegian women’s teams was low on the agenda among the people running the game, according to her.

The Euro 2017 fiasco ignited a national debate about the lack of funding for the women’s game compared to the men’s. While the elite men’s clubs can spend over three hundred million kroners (about 30 million Euro) the next six years on youth academies – developing boys, that is – the women’s clubs have nothing. Girls have no academies. The players still – almost forty years since the national women’s team played its first game – haste between studies, part-time work and club and national team commitments.

At the self-proclaimed gender-neutral federation, the men’s appearance fees were t...

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