LILLESTRØM (VG) Ståle Solbakken started the national team year with a tirade of four minutes and 41 seconds against Norwegian journalists, coaches and managers. The national team manager is clueless about the fact that in Norway there is no heated discussion about natural grass versus artificial turf.
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– I was very surprised at how weak all the journalists on the topic were here. You’re not interested in that. Artificial turf is a different game than turf, Solbakken announced after receiving a lace pass from Romerikes Blad.
– You’re in rsen, Ståle. Lillestrm has prepared the course. You have a clear opinion of the grass, ask the local newspaper’s sporting director.
– What is happening in Norway now is a lot of clubs in Norway have bad artificial turf pitches. I think club leaders in Norway are weak, coaches in Norway are weak and journalists in Norway are weak. Football must be played on grass. It’s a surface that all players want to play on, but then you have to do as Lillestrem did here, work for the long term, answered Solbakken.
– I do not understand that it is not a matter of big priority. The whole world is playing on the grass, this is the arena of competition. There are now better types of grass in colder climates, and this is important for Norwegian football, so we can train other types of players (like “target” midfielders and strikers), so we don’t just get good midfielders with the ball. They were full of it, Ståle Solbakken defended and sent a new sour message to the press:
– But you don’t care either.
Former Molde player Erling Braut Haaland brought his own airway home to Norway on Monday.
11 of Norway’s 16 elite clubs have played on artificial turf this season. Molde switched from natural grass to artificial grass eight years ago.
– The association and the NTF should have put the pot in the previous TV agreement that the club that owns the grass gets money for a good tracker, Ståle Solbakken believes.
– No pressure on anyone. Instead, we fell asleep thinking this was something that happened overseas. When the artificial turf field arrived, everyone said and believed that there would be no big difference. It hasn’t happened and won’t happen. Nothing happened, and even went the wrong way. Norwegian football has to overcome this. Vikings, Start, Vålerenga, Brann considered it, Stabæk did it … it was completely the wrong way.
Molde director Ole Erik Stavrum told VG:
– This has not been a very prominent discussion in either Molde or Norwegian football in recent years. Whether it’s slack or not, Ståle has something to say about it.
– Is there any discussion at all about going back to natural grass?
– Not yet in our club, Stavrum states. He believes that playing football in Norway on natural grass is a climate issue from February to December.
At the same time as the Norwegian artificial turf revolution, the national team hasn’t been to the playoffs since Solbakken himself played in the 2000 European Championship. But the national team manager doesn’t want to link the two things. He believes Norwegian clubs have lost a lot of money.
– Hundreds of millions in transfer fees, and the opportunity to develop several types of players, he believes.
– I don’t know if it’s connected. “I really don’t know,” said Molde director Ole Erik Stavrum.
Lars Bohinen has been part of the Norwegian coaches association board for the past year. He states that the debate on substrates was not carried there during his period.
– A difficult question. Very two-sided. Purely sport, it would be an advantage if we played on grass. I think a lot of coaches agree with that. On the other hand, one must understand that artificial turf pitches come for two reasons. It is very expensive to ride grass and the area of its use is very limited, said Bohinen, stressing that he was not speaking on behalf of the coaches’ association.
– The entrance of the club to build the stadium is artificial turf. This has provided more support and goodwill from the municipality than an arena where football is played once every 14 days, said former Sarpsborg coaches Aalesund and Sandefjord.
PS! On Monday, Ståle Solbakken led an easy session with 11 men on a beautiful rsen natural mat. Norway meet Slovakia on Friday and Armenia next Tuesday on roughly the same fine grass Ullevaal.
– We have made a lot of analysis about what we need to do differently in the future to achieve our goals. An important step here is ensuring adequate access to grass-court training for teams and players who are just competing internationally, Klaveness told VG.
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