Norwegian football supporters strongly dislike the Obosligaen going on Mondays this year. Next year, VAR will be introduced in the Elite Series. Then Sunday night is reserved for the top division.
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– That we have enough referees for the Obosligaen and the Eliteserien to go in parallel when VAR is introduced, it is not realistic, says NFF’s competition director Nils Fisketjønn.
He points out that it not necessarily means that the main round of the Obosliga will take place on Mondays next year as well.
Mens supporters rage over the Monday round in this year’s season, VG’s surveys show that a clear minority of clubs think Monday is a good day.
Now the players’ organization NISO reacts to choosing Monday, a day that presents great challenges for players with jobs next to football.
– It surprises us that the players have not been heard to a greater extent in this question, as schedule dates will be discussed with the players before each season, according to the agreement, says NISO leader Erlend Hanstveit.
The Obosliga on Monday or on weekdays was established in the pandemic and then as a pure TV product. The experience with that, and not least the job Discovery has done with “Football Direct: Obosligaen”, has been very good, says Fisketjønn.
– It has given us more viewers and more attention. There is no doubt that the fact that the league stands alone gives us an intrinsic value. Then we are aware that for traveling supporters, Monday is not good, he says.
When video refereeing is used in the Elite Series from 2023, the Norwegian Football Association will need more top referees. The number of main referees with elite series status has increased from 13 to 17 since last year – and will continue until 20 next year.
In 2023, each referee team out at the stadium will have two referees sitting in the VAR room in Oslo.
The individual referee will alternate between being out in a match and sitting in the VAR room, where you will be able to follow up to eight matches at a time.
The fact that the Obosliga, where it is not planned to introduce VAR, will be played on a separate day makes the referee logistics easier – and will lead to a higher quality of refereeing, NFF’s referee chief Terje Hauge believes.
– Do you have enough top judges?
– Yes then, the question is more “what about the Obosliga then?”. We take up many referees who have been in the Obosliga for quite some time, and who are more than good enough to judge in the Elite Series. The challenge comes in the Obosliga. We have started to recruit experienced referees from the Post Nord league, says Hauge.
– We are concerned with quality and routine, and not as much age as we were before.
At the production company NEP Norway at Økern in Oslo, the judges are in full swing with technical training and VAR training.
– We have a steep learning curve. It’s just like learning to drive. You have to learn to shift, turn and use turn signals at the same time, Hauge describes.
PS! The Norwegian Football Association, Norsk Toppfotball, Fotball Media and licensee Discovery jointly set up the game plan.