Geert Moldestad is a former spokesperson for the Norwegian Supporters Alliance (NSA). He believes what the football world sees at the World Cup today is reminiscent of the battle he himself waged in Norway in 2014 and 2015.
In that period, both clubs and individual prisoners tried to highlight LGBT rights at football matches in Norway. In 2015, among other things, Brann wanted to use the rainbow flag as a corner flag, but he got it number From the Norwegian Football Association (NFF).
The previous year, Moldstad and two friends had wanted to tag with a rainbow flag in an international match against Russia in Ollival, and so they contacted the national football association.
– We did not get a response from the national football association, but suddenly we were called by the police who said that if we showed up with a rainbow flag, we would be taken away, says Möldstad.
“Poor” dialogue with NFF
He still went to the match, but Moldstad says they were told for a long time that they were not allowed to enter the stadium with rainbow flags. Today he remembers it as a “dramatic day”.
After finally contacting the NFA management on the day of the match, they were allowed in, but the observant football fan experienced the dialogue with the Norwegian Football Association as “bad”.
– At that time, I realized that NFF is old-fashioned, underdeveloped, and maybe a bit uninformed. It was taboo in football. We talked a lot about racism, but not much about LGBT people, says Moldstad.
The then head of football, Yingfei Halen, remembers the match against Russia in 2014 very well.
– It was a match where there was a lot of dialogue beforehand, precisely because you wanted to bring out the equality in the match. He may be targeting Russia in particular, he tells NRK.
The self-critical Hallen admits the NFL should have acted differently in 2014.
– Then and then, it’s embarrassing, and the way we shouldn’t act. What it is, is that we politicized everything, said everything was politics because we were afraid of conflict, and not a good host.
On June 1, 2015, the NFL turned around and allowed Bran, among others, to place rainbow flags on the field. But the rainbow signs still meet resistance, also in European football. In June 2021, UEFA said no to rainbow signs at the Allianz Arena in Germany.
When asked if the National Football Association was too backward, as Moldestad realized, the former football boss admitted that the National Football Association was too conservative.
– It was about showing respect to those we were hosting, and in retrospect one has to say that was completely wrong. Fortunately, we were able to deal with it at the time, but we certainly dealt with this very poorly historically, Hallen says.
– Desperate how they act
Moldstad believes the answers he received in 2014 and 2015 are reminiscent of the answers given during today’s WC.
– FIFA has done a great service to everyone who wants football in a good direction, because now we see that the way FIFA behaves, it gets a backlash. In short, it may well be that when we go a little further in time and look back on this (with FIFA), we may see that this was a very important date for a good change in football. At least I hope so.
Hallen disagrees with this comparison, and is annoyed at the way FIFA is handling the rainbow conflict today.
– It’s frustrating how they’re behaving, and they’re clearly using this in discord as they pit Europe against the rest of the world. It’s unfortunately a pattern we’ve seen before, says the former head of football.
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