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 does not understand the fact that in Norway there is no heated discussion about natural grass versus artificial turf.
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– I was really surprised at how relaxed all the journalists were on the topic here. You’re not interested in that. Artificial turf is a different game than turf, Solbakken reported after receiving a lace pass from Romerikes Blad.
– You’re standing on the rsen, Ståle. Lillestrm has prepared the track. You have a clear opinion of the grass, ask the local newspaper’s sports manager.
– What is happening in Norway now is that many clubs in Norway have poor artificial turf pitches. I think club managers in Norway are weak, coaches in Norway are weak and journalists in Norway are weak. Football must be played on grass. “It’s a base that all players want to play, but then you have to do like Lillestrem here, work for the long term,” replied Solbakken.
– I do not understand that it is not a matter of high priority. The whole world plays on the grass, it’s a competition arena. 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 centre-backs and “target” strikers), so we don’t just get good midfielders with the ball. There are plenty of them, Ståle Solbakken insists and sends 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 Confederation and NTF should have included a stipulation in previous TV agreements that clubs that own grass get money for good field men, believes Ståle Solbakken.
– No pressure on anyone. Instead, we fell asleep and thought this was something that happened overseas. When the artificial grass field arrived, everyone said and everyone believed that there would not be much difference. It hasn’t happened and won’t happen. Nothing happened and even went the wrong way. Norwegian football has to deal with it. The Vikings, Start, Vålerenga, Brann considered it, Stabæk did it… that was really 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 was casual or not, Ståle could say something about it.
– Is there any discussion at all about going back to natural grass?
– That doesn’t happen at our club, said Stavrum. He believes that playing football in Norway on natural grass is climatically problematic from February to December.
At the same time as Norway’s artificial turf revolution, the national team haven’t been to the play-offs since Solbakken himself played in 2000 EC. But the national team manager does not want to connect 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 didn’t know that,” said Molde director Ole Erik Stavrum.
Lars Bohinen has been part of the Norwegian coaches association board for the past year. He stated that the debate over the substrata had not been taken up during his tenure.
– A difficult question. Very two-sided. From a purely sporting point of view, it would be an advantage if we played on grass. I think a lot of coaches agree with that. On the other hand, it should be understood that artificial turf pitches arise for two reasons. It is very expensive to grow grass and the area of its use is very limited, said Bohinen, who stressed that he was not speaking on behalf of the coaches’ association.
– The entrance of the club to build the stadium is artificial grass. This has provided more support and goodwill from the city government than for the arena where football is played once every 14 days, said former Sarpsborg coaches Aalesund and Sandefjord.
PS! On Monday, Ståle Solbakken led a light session with 11 players on a beautiful natural rsen mat. Norway will meet Slovakia on Friday and Armenia next Tuesday on roughly the same smooth grass of 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 turf training for teams and players who will compete internationally, Klaveness told VG.
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