It was announced yesterday that the NFF is to increase the funding for the women’s senior team from just under £300,000 (3.1M Norwegian kroner) to around £575,000 (6M NOK) in a move that will see them earn the same as the men’s team.
Level playing field
For those familiar with the women’s game they wouldn’t have been surprised to know that the women earn considerably less than their male counterparts, no matter each’s status in the world game. Though the story has fast picked up traction around the world as the move is set to be one of the first of its kind, not least because the men’s budget will actually be reduced from 6.55M NOK to 6M to bring them into line.
The move will also see the women earn the same level of tournament bonuses as the men; a square 25% share of the money awarded by FIFA and UEFA for their qualification and placements in major tournaments, instead of negotiating ahead of each as they’ve done in the past.
The news is timely and comes just weeks after titan of the sport, Ada Hegerberg announced she’d be stepping back from the national team. The news rather shone the light on the NFF around the world and head of the player’s association (or NISO), Joachim Walltin believes the 22-year-old played her part, her formal statement enough to catalyse the process and get her former teammates openly talking about the issues.
However, it’s not just Hegerberg’s grievances with the NFF – which run far deeper than the funding – that the women’s footballing world has seen in recent times, 2017 has carried a theme of pressure increasingly put on federations to improve what they do for their women’s teams. Whether it was the Republic of Ireland going public with the shoddy conditions they were put under by the FAI or the Scottish team remaining silent ahead of Euro 2017 to enact change or Denmark’s on-going dispute with DBU. Or in the Americas where the USWNT remained vocal about their criticisms of US Soccer ahead of signing a new CBA or the recent rash of retirements from the Brazilian national team, the world has had its gaze shifted to the worldwide disparity in women’s football.
Norwegians look to stabilise
“I just think that's the way it should be,” said 26-year-old Norwegian midfielder, Stefan Johansen when speaking to NRK. The goal to improve and further Norwegian football, whether male or female the players just want to see the national sides doing well and achieving all they can. In the same article, Tore Reginiussen who’s also seen his budget cut as part of the move spoke of being happy to contribute, noting that the women, “need it more than us.”
Men's team slacking
Although Norway has seen more female players leave her shores in recent months and years, there still exists a high number of international players who play in the domestic Toppserien and juggle their semi-pro football careers with full-time jobs and studying.
As more and more global leagues and national teams improve the conditions for players, the increased funding should help to keep Norway somewhat in check and keep the team with such a rich history in the game high in the rankings.
For comparison, the men are still trying to recover from the downward spiral they found themselves locked in under former manager Per-Mathias Høgmo where they fell to a lowest ever FIFA ranking of 85 and at the time of writing are ranked 73rd in the world. Conversely the women’s team have routinely been involved in the latter stages of tournaments since their inception, a recent dip in their own form has seen them slip to their own lowest-ever ranking of 14th in the world.
The news has been met with warm appreciation from those involved in the sport in Norway, former Norwegian international and NRK commentator Lise Klaveness told Aftenposten that the news was “inspiring.” Klaveness’ main hope that the move is part of a greater attitude change for the NFF which will see the women’s team fully treated as equal to the men’s side and valued the same.