The top referees throw themselves into the discussion about Monday’s round in the Obosliga.
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Elite Series referee Kai Erik Steen is clear on what the Top Referees’ Association’s position is: No to the obosliga round on Mondays!
As VG has previously written are both Norwegian Supporter Alliance (NSA) and the players’ organization NISO against the main round being played on Mondays next season.
Before last year’s season – when the Obosliga was set up without a particularly fixed day – we sent out a report of concern to the Norwegian Football Association. So did NISO and the NSA independently of us. Based on this, a group was created that looked at this together, says Kai Erik Steen, leader of the Association of Top Judges.
The letter was marked “report of concern on behalf of the referees in the Obosliga” and was sent to the federal board, he says.
– We came up with a solution that allowed us to participate in the 2021 season, and we have achieved the same type of solution in 2022, but we are not happy with it being played on weekdays. It can have ripple effects in the long run, he believes.
East side Askøy FK referee is concerned about the recruitment and quality when matches are played on days where the referees have their civilian job.
– If you are to referee in the Obosligaen, you now have to set aside days of the week, and then some will rather prioritize other things than football refereeing.
Competition director Nils Fisketjønn in NFF says a working group was appointed after the letter from the judges.
– Through 2020 and 2021, we have had regular discussions with the Chief Referees Association about matches on weekdays. Together, we have put in place schemes with compensation for lost earnings, adapted travel and given the judges great freedom to refrain from judging without this having any consequences, Fisketjønn states.
– Most recently last week, we were in contact with the association’s leader with a view to expanding the current schemes. We have not received any negative signals from the association and hope and believe they will come to us if they are worried, he adds.
The Norwegian Football Association, Norsk Toppfotball, Fotball Media and licensee Discovery are jointly setting up the game plan.
The choice of Monday is based on the clubs’ desire to get out of the shadow of the Elite Series – and rather “shine” on a separate day.
VG’s ring round shows, however, that only a few clubs want the main round to be on Mondays.
Licensee Discovery has had success with “Football Direct: Obosligaen”, where you can follow the main round directly.
– We are positive that the Obosligaen gets its own time, but then you should rather dare to take the match with the Bundesliga and Premier League on Saturdays than play on weekdays, Steen believes.