Norway’s topflight footballers strike over boots
Nearly 100 of Norway’s topflight football players went on strike
Friday demanding the right to choose their own boots and other
The strike, affecting nine of the league’s teams including
leader Tromsoe, forced the Norwegian football association to
postpone matches scheduled for Sunday and Monday.
Unlike most other European countries, Norway’s top-division
players must use boots and goalkeeper’s gloves provided by their
club’s sponsors. The clubs say disrupting those sponsorship deals
would cause extensive harm to their finances.
The players claim the rules are unfair and say picking their own
gear would improve their performance and help prevent injuries.
They are also demanding limits to clubs’ ability to terminate
The players’ union left talks aimed at resolving the dispute
Friday, with union boss Joachim Walltin saying in a statement that
the clubs ”showed little will to meet the demands of our
The chief negotiator for the clubs, Bjoern Tangnes, told The
Associated Press that the two sides couldn’t agree on the boots
The strike affects 95 players for Brann, Fredrikstad, Molde,
Sogndal, Start, Tromsoe, Viking, Vaalerenga and Aalesund. It
doesn’t include 22-time Norwegian champion Rosenborg, the Nordic
country’s most decorated club.
The union said players on strike cannot practice or play
competitively for their club, but are free to play for the national
It is the second time Norwegian players go on strike, following
a similar action in 2002. This season, there was a threat of strike
actions in both Italy’s Serie A and the Spanish league, but both
Top Spanish clubs announced a strike after a dispute over TV
revenue, but a judge ruled that league games must go on. In Italy,
the players’ association withdrew its threat of a strike after
reaching a deal for a new collective labor agreement.
FIFPro, an international umbrella organization for football
unions, said players are free to choose their own equipment in most
countries around the world.
”We only know about Norway and Sweden as countries that oblige
players to use the supplied equipment,” FIFPro lawyer Wil van
”FIFPro is of the opinion that each player must have the
freedom to choose his own equipment, be it shoes or gloves,” he
said. ”He has to use it every day and must feel very comfortable
The Norwegian dispute also involves ice hockey and handball
players, but they’re not going on strike because their league
seasons have already ended.