For the third time, the former top referee Svein-Erik Edvartsen (42) has been in dialogue with his local football club about a comeback. He has received no just as many times – most recently this autumn.
Aftenposten collaborates with VG-sporten. Therefore, as an Aftenposten reader, you also get articles and services created by VG.
This is confirmed by Edvartsen himself and circuit leader Jann Millnar Eggen in NFF Indre Østland to VG.
Edvartsen was (for the time being) separated as an elite series referee ahead of the 2017 season after a conflict with referee chief Terje Hauge. He already tried the same spring to have the opportunity to judge in lower divisions. He got it no to, and in September 2019 – after a new attempt to be allowed to judge at a lower level – NFF Indre Østland (the football club) decided in the board that Edvartsen was not allowed to judge.
This autumn, the process has been repeated, and in a letter to Edvartsen dated 19 October, the district says that they stand by their decision from 2019.
– I have refereed football for 25 years, started when I was 14 and miss refereeing. And as I have said before VG: I understand that I will not judge Lillestrøm-Vålerenga tomorrow, but I am concerned that the Norwegian Football Association will keep what they have promised. That it should be arranged for arenas where I can qualify sportingly on the basis of my achievements as a judge, says Svein-Erik Edvartsen.
He denies that all the cases – both the ongoing, closed and settled – between him and the NFF have changed for the association to facilitate these arenas.
– As a former cup final and European Championship referee, why do you really want to judge in the 3rd division?
– I have had a dialogue with NFF’s referee committee leader Jon Skjervold for six months. I have had several conversations with him and the circle that a comeback plan should be drawn up where my sporting achievements were treated in the same way as all other judges. And if I were the best referee in the 3rd division, I would move up to the 2nd division, Edvartsen outlines.
Board chairman Jann Millnar Eggen in NFF Indre Østland tells VG that he and general manager Janicke Gonstad had a physical meeting with Edvartsen for a couple of hours in September. The meeting formed the basis for the NFF district’s decision, which was thus the opposite of Edvartsen’s wishes.
– What was important from our side was that the decision made by my predecessor and her board in 2019, expressed that there were some prerequisites that had to be in place to discuss the matter again. The way I and my board see the situation, there is no change in the situation. Therefore, the answer is that we have left the decision from 2019, says Eggen.
– As the case stands today, it is irrelevant for us to take up the case again. He has to comply with what the circuit calls for. He must put the relationship with the betting company behind him and not use social media to comment on referee colleagues, says Eggen.
Edvartsen guarantees that he had not continued his commercial agreement with a gaming company, where he blogs as a referee expert. According to Edvartsen, it is valid until 2021.
A prerequisite for being able to judge in the 3rd division was to terminate this collaboration. Football club leader Eggen also believes that it must take some time without Edvartsen being associated with the company or writing about referee colleagues. Exactly how long, the NFF leader has no opinion on.
– I was surprised by the decision. It did not correspond with the process I had with Skjervold. The way I assess it, it is directly related to that The online newspaper has written that I was exposed to racism, claims Svein-Erik Edvartsen.
– Do you have to substantiate that claim?
– After the meetings, I have not done anything, except do my job. They experience that life has been revived in the conflict. I am not allowed to judge because Nettavisen wrote that I was exposed to racism, it is actually stated in the decision. I think that is strange, he continues.
The district, on the other hand, considered the Nettavisen case to have been revived in the almost five-year-long conflict between Edvartsen and the Norwegian Football Association (see timeline).
– As I see it, I interpret and steer it to the point that there is a conflict that is unresolved. What we have written to Svein-Erik Edvartsen is that new life has been breathed into the media case, which does not support an improvement of the climate of cooperation, Jann Millnar Eggen explains.
Eggen further says that they must be sure that there is no “friction” between Edvartsen and NFF centrally. On his own blog, Edvartsen gives a written assessment of all the referees in the Elite Series after each round.
– That is correct. As a judge expert, my job is to write a judge analysis and follow the judges internationally, Edvartsen explains.
– Could not you put the blog on ice to show that you really wanted this?
– No, I could not. I’m dependent on income, and it was never from demands from the circle or Skjervold to stop blogging now. It was never a theme in 2021, Edvartsen answers.
VG has been in contact with Skjervold, who does not want to comment on the matter.
– You have had – and have – many feuds with NFF. Isn’t it natural that a football club under the NFF says no to you then?
– Not on the basis of the conversations I have had with Skjervold for six months. It was Skjervold who opened the door for me to the circuit, and it was Skjervold who contacted me after I called for the arenas that they are obliged to create for me. The whole point of this was that we should not have any feuds with the NFF. I would never have gone on with the cases I have if I had become a circuit judge and a real opportunity to become a top judge. I could not become a judge in January and met Bjerketvedt (NFF’s general secretary) in court in March. I understand that, he answers.
– Have you done anything to reduce the level of conflict with the NFF in connection with this case?
– After the NFF contacted me for the first time since 2017 in May this year, through Jon Skjervold, there has not been a single word between me and the NFF in the media. I have kept calm. When he has played a prank against me for six months, he has a problem, says Edvartsen.
– Are you sure it’s Skjervold’s fault?
– In the aftermath of the district’s decision, which I suspect is influenced by NFF centrally, I contacted Skjervold, and then he wrote that he had no comments on the district’s decision. Then I experience it as a prank. So we have asked for his statement through the law firm Elden now. He has received a letter, says Edvartsen.
– Is this really a case for a lawyer?
– When Skjervold has promised a judge comeback for six months in accordance with the judge settlement both in writing and orally, it is of course appropriate that Elden law firm asks him to explain. If Skjervold thinks otherwise, I look forward to his explanation in court. It is a criminal offense to lie there, says Edvartsen.
The chairman of the board, Jann Millnar Eggen in NFF Indre Østland, is aware that the district has made the decision.
– Then everyone understands that it is natural to obtain information when we are met with promises and allegations. Judges’ committees talk together, and it is natural to have a dialogue in the political line and the administrative line, says Eggen about the district’s dialogue with NFF centrally.
– Does the last no answer from the circle mean that you give up being a judge again, Edvartsen?
– In the.