Everything has become more expensive lately. Food, electricity and higher interest rates mean it’s getting tighter for many people. It also appears in sports.
Earlier in May, NRK wrote that even people with jobs and homes struggle to pay for their children’s sports activities. Club managers from across the country said problems with paying membership fees and coaching fees are a growing problem.
It’s a problem Sjur Røthe has struggled with.
– I obviously think it’s boring, a difficult evolution of sports with professionalism and so on. That is the challenge. You want both top sports and popular sports, says Sjur Røthe, and adds:
– I get sick when I see young, young skiers with several pairs of skis at the local ski races.
The most important environment
NRK meets the 34-year-old on the ski track in Stokke, where he maintains his form. Fussingen, who considered quitting after last season, is once again ready for a new cross-country season.
He will look for new medals and hopefully inspire more children and young people.
This is one of the reasons he is so interested in debates about the costs of children and non-professional sports.
Another is that he and his partner Siv Emilie Løvvold became parents in March two years ago, and so he can relate to the children’s desire to have the best equipment possible and to be able to partake in whatever they want, even if it’s still maybe a little early for his son, Daedric.
The focus should be on those who do not have the means or opportunity to participate. The most important thing is to focus on it. Those who have the means to participate, he says, will be able to participate anyway, adding that it is a “tough balancing act”.
Although he understands the rush for equipment and the desire for the best and latest, he realizes that it is not necessary.
The environment means a lot to me. I didn’t have the craziest equipment or anything like that when I was little, but I was really keen on us being together, working out together, and having a social time. I think this is the most important thing.
– Too much shame
Like Roth, Marco Safadi of the Norwegian Sports Confederation fears that the sport is about to die out.
The biggest obstacle is financial resources. If you can’t pay the dues, you won’t come. He tells NRK there is a lot of shame associated with not being able to pay.
He remembers when he was a kid, and ended up playing basketball instead of football. Precisely because of the economy. Football demanded the dues be paid while the fervor around the basketball club allowed Safadi and the brothers to “pay” by participating in charity and undertaking other pursuits.
It makes me sick to think of saying no to kids who won’t be allowed to train because they can’t afford membership fees and training fees. The fear is that this may not be the case, Mae Les Ryan at Steinkjer Fotballklubb told NRK earlier in May.
Roth points out several possible solutions to ensure that no one gets priced in and that clubs and circuits everywhere avoid what Ryan fears. Among them are many support and reuse schemes and focus on the fun and activity of the sport rather than equipment and style.
– The most important focus should be on wanting to create young people who are motivated to participate for as long as possible, he says.
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