In an anonymous survey conducted by NRK, the figures show that there are very few players in the Toppserien who are positive about the current series system.
We asked the following questions to all the players in the Toppserien:
- What do you think about the new series system in the Toppserien?
- Do you want to keep today’s series system?
- What are your thoughts on the series system now that it has been tested in practice? (Open answer)
Only Lyn refused to pass on the survey to their players, but the other nine clubs in the Toppserien wanted their players to participate.
According to the answers in the survey, eight out of ten players are very dissatisfied with the current system. It also shows that nine out of ten players who responded to the survey will get rid of the league system next season.
Here is some of the response that came from the players:
Some are also either hesitant or positive:
– The desire for a change was clear
– There are things you have to take note of, that they express their opinion. It is so that the intention with the system, which was adopted in 2019, is based on an acknowledgment that the arrows pointed downwards over a longer period. The desire for a change was quite clear, says acting elite director of NFF, Truls Dæhli, to NRK.
He points out that around two out of three clubs are in favor of this proposal. The main intention is to raise competitiveness in Europe and climb the European league rankings. This will make it possible to get more teams in the most generous tournaments.
– Changes are always difficult to stand in, and it is demanding. I think it is important to stand in the change and live with it in the best possible way. A group has already been set up to evaluate the Toppserien and that is precisely because adjustments can be made for next season, Dæhli says.
– How likely do you think it is that the playoffs will be scrapped already next season?
– I do not want an idea about that and I will not either. There is a committee that will look at it, and then you will come to an assessment.
Hege Jørgensen, who is the general manager of Toppfotball Kvinner, also points out that the system must be evaluated.
– There are very strong signals that we must look at more closely. Of course, it is not the players who will decide the league structure, but there is no doubt that it is a structure that many people think a lot about. It is an innovation that is controversial, and therefore it has been important for us to set up the working committee from the very beginning of the year to closely monitor how the system works, says Jørgensen, to NRK.
The Espelund committee studied the proposal
It was back in 2018 that the Espelund committee, led by Karen Espelund, proposed that the Toppserien should have a new structure. It was voted on at the football parliament in 2019.
One proposal involved cutting the number of teams from twelve to eight teams.
The second proposal, which is reminiscent of the current system, was about cutting down to ten teams and introducing a basic game and final game.
This means that a league winner will not be chosen after the basic game, but it will be clear which teams will fight for the league title and who will fight against relegation. When all the teams have met twice, the table will be divided into two groups. The four best teams play for the title. The six worst in the Toppserien and the two best from the 1st division are fighting for a place in next season’s top division.
All points from the basic game are deleted for the bottom teams and the teams start at zero after the screening.
In the top four playoffs, the teams start with six, four, two and zero points, respectively, based on the position. The two worst in the second pool move down directly. The third worst must be replayed against the playoff winner in the 1st division.
NRK has been in contact with Espelund, but she does not want to be interviewed about the case.
The committee’s proposal was adjusted
Jan Roar Saltvik was also part of the Espelund committee that came up with the proposal for the playoffs. However, he reminds that their proposal is not exactly the same as the proposal that was adopted at the football parliament in 2019.
– The committee wrote that we should include points and goal difference in the playoffs. I still mean it. Then there are probably some reasons why it is wise to have the current system, Saltvik says to NRK.
But at the same time, he does not buy the idea that the basic game feels like training matches.
– The six weakest teams also play against the best teams. If you want to develop, then all the matches will be equally important. We wish there were points from the basic game to the playoffs, and I can understand that the best teams have more to play for in the playoffs. But the lower half also gets to play against the best. I do not quite buy that argument, says Saltvik.
Admits weakness in the series system
Even though it is early in the season, there are many who consider Vålerenga, Rosenborg, LSK Kvinner and Brann as big favorites to take the top four places in the Toppserien.
Several in the survey believe that the series system is further weakened.
– The way the series looks now, that is the main problem. There are four teams that leave, and when there has been such a big gap from the top four to the bottom, they get little to play for. This is a fairly new situation, because it was not an issue a few years ago. Exactly that is an issue we must look at, says Jørgensen.
It is precisely the aforementioned big favorites who hold the top four places. Dæhli can also understand the point of view.
– It is possible to see it that way. But I think it will be smoother throughout the system, even if part of the intention of the system is to give competitiveness towards European games. That is a very important part of it, he says.
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