– It is a huge danger signal, Ødegaard states to NRK.
As the father of Arsenal star Martin Ødegaard, he knows a lot about children’s and youth football in Norway. He does not like the development he has seen in recent years.
In his own time as a trainer for children and young people, it was important that they were able to keep the property for the children low.
– We need to know a little where we are and it is important that we get some peaks, but it is free to train. I think there are too many who long for paid coaches. The spirit of hard work is strong in Norway. We have to take advantage of that and that is what our kids want to benefit from, says the new Sandefjord coach.
The debate about the prices in children’s football was given new life after former England professional Anders Jacobsen wrote the article “Is it too expensive to play football?”
There, the current child and youth coach addresses what he thinks is a dangerous development:
“If this price gallop is not slowed down, Football Norway risks that many children will have to stand outside the stadium and look inside. Because the price tag for participation has warts too high. If that happens, the football club has gone both morally and financially bankrupt. “
– For me, football for children is about freedom. Freedom to play well. Not a city with an academy and where one produces football players as in one factory. I think it is very important to recruit widely from all walks of life. Now there is a risk that one does not do it, Jacobsen elaborates to NRK after participating in Dagsnytt 18 on Tuesday.
He himself experienced a career that made him Vålerenga captain and professional in clubs such as Sheffield United and Stoke, but he doubts that he would have achieved the same if he had been introduced to a professional system early on.
– If I had professional coaches who demanded that I perform as a 7-8-9-year-old, I would never have been a football player. Being with good friends and being together in the local community is the reason why I quit thousands of workouts after a quarter. Had someone started such a project, I would have chosen something else.
Section leader for club and activity in NFF, admits that the ever-increasing differences in football are a problem.
– Football is always cheap sports, but we see it becoming more expensive in several places, especially in the big cities, there are offers that are very expensive. It is clearly a challenge if more people feel that they can not afford to participate in football, says Lunde to NRK.
He said that NFF can not sponsor measures to lower the price level, but that they work in other ways to ensure good arrangements at a reasonable price.
– We try to work with the clubs, so that when they make good offers, we think that everyone in the area should be able to afford to join. And I want to praise the clubs, because they are creative and want to be with everyone. But some clubs come at a level of expenditure that means that not everyone can join, and that is a challenge, the section leader explains.
– It’s a game
State Secretary for Culture and Gender Equality, Gry Haugsbakken (Labor Party), says that the Government wants to reduce the economic barriers so that more people can participate.
– When we allocate money to sports, we write in the letter that one should ensure that everyone can participate, in addition to building up the voluntary athletics. The second thing we do is look at the plant structure, if it is built so large and beautiful that it becomes too expensive, we have to look at how we are going to change it, Haugsbakken explains.
Ødegaard himself is not only concerned that football should be for everyone, but that a premature professionalisation is not necessarily good for development either.
He is skeptical of paid coaches in age-specific football, and that one can in no way forget the game for the youngest.
– It is a bit difficult for the top clubs to become more and more professional, and there are resources, and then many others will approach it, but I think we have to think a little about age. It’s a game and should be fun. The most important thing if you want to be good, is actually what you do on your own outside of organized training, he says.