Ståle Solbakken on media coverage of the national team:

Ståle Solbakken on media coverage of the national team:

Reedar Sole, former president of the Norwegian Sports Journalists Association for 30 years, posted on Sunday morning banner About the openness of the national team and the Nigerian Federation’s recent dealings with the media.

Sule’s main message is that there has been a tightening of the country’s best footballers and their availability is less.

The comment was published in M24 after several Norwegian media outlets, in a letter to the national football association, expressed their dissatisfaction with access to men’s national team players.

Dagbladet was among the media organizations that participated in the message.

– Strong tug

The national team recently finished a week and a half meeting in Oslo. During that period, it was not easy for the press to get a word about the most important figures in Norway. Sully notices a distinct change.

– The openness that we may have spoiled, or at least become accustomed to, has been greatly emphasized.

Why do you think things have become more closed around the national team?

– I think there is pressure from players who are used to a more protective culture at the clubs they play for. Sully says this has been a problem for years, especially in England. He adds:

– I think the national team manager has a certain influence, but at least he says that he is interested in frankness and that the relationship with the media is as easy as possible.

More closed: Reidar Solli reacts to the fact that he has become more closed to the press around the Norwegian men's national team.  Photo: private.

More closed: Reidar Solli reacts to the fact that he has become more closed to the press around the Norwegian men’s national team. Photo: private.
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– Take it seriously

Ståle Solbakken was informed of the growing dissatisfaction at the end of the national team encounter, by media officer Morten Morisbak Skjønsberg. He himself has not thought much about the availability of the team, but at the same time he is taking on the challenge.

– I didn’t think much about it. I do my journalistic work and focus on it. At the same time, I think both Brede (Hangeland) and Kent (Bergersen) are mostly available around the clock between meetings, says the national team manager to Dagbladet, before continuing:

– There were slightly different ways to solve the issue of player availability, but we take it seriously. If the press thinks we have too few, we should take it seriously. We want to present ourselves as well as possible.

At the same time as Solbakken wants the national team to give as much as possible for himself, he adds some challenges in terms of the individual players in the team.

-We have some challenges that we have not faced before. We have two world stars in the team who have to be protected in their own way. We have to try to find the right balance.

Press conference: National team manager Ståle Solbakken during the press conference at Ullevål Stadium.  Photo: Martin Solhaug Stendhal/NTB

Press conference: National team manager Ståle Solbakken during the press conference at Ullevål Stadium. Photo: Martin Solhaug Stendhal/NTB
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It may lead to speculation

Sully is worried about the consequences this might have. Whether for the press or the national team.

– There is nothing wrong with journalists, they can continue to live their lives, but I fear that there will be more speculative journalism, as is the case in England.

– Because you can’t meet profiles?

– Yes, because you cannot meet them directly and talk to them. Some would like to go more in the direction of impeccable journalism, but Norwegian media houses are quite responsible, so I don’t have any examples of that at the moment.

World Stars: Much has been written about Martin Odegaard and Erling Braut Haaland in the English press as they both play important roles at Arsenal and Manchester City respectively.  Image: NTP.

World Stars: Much has been written about Martin Odegaard and Erling Braut Haaland in the English press as they both play important roles at Arsenal and Manchester City respectively.
Image: NTP.
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This is an argument that Solbakin can understand.

– That’s a good point. We all have to take it seriously, and then we have to see if we can resolve it in the best possible way for all parties. Maybe not everyone will be 100% satisfied all the time, but if one side is not satisfied, we have to look at it, says the national team manager, before adding:

– It’s not like I’m snoring at this and thinking it’s just bullshit. On the contrary, I take it seriously.

Do you have any ideas on what could be changed?

No, I leave that to those who work with the media at the NFL. First they have to make the necessary contacts, and then Morten (Møresback Skjønsberg) will inform me about it after that.

Collaborators: Ståle Solbakken and Morten Morisbak Skjønsberg.  Here in front of the Norwegian Press Corps.  Image: NTP.

Collaborators: Ståle Solbakken and Morten Morisbak Skjønsberg. Here in front of the Norwegian Press Corps. Image: NTP.
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Was everything better before?

On the other hand, Sule has a proposal for how to solve the challenges and comes at the same time with an invitation to the National Football Federation.

-I think it’s as simple as going back to how it was before. Then there were the mixed press meetings, where it was debated as to which players were standing.

Mingle’s press conferences are an arrangement still practiced in Sweden and Denmark. Sully describes that such a solution would make press conferences harmless. At the same time the press gets the opportunity to talk to whoever the players want. He stresses that individual adjustments must be made.

– There are of course big differences within the group of players. Big names cannot afford to speak to all the media for ten minutes each, so it is natural to understand that there will be joint sessions with them.

Solbakken won’t say what the best solution is, but he stresses that the problem must be worked on.

– It is certainly possible to reach such a solution. The danger with this is that there will be eight players, and then the media will only talk to two. And so Six stands in the corner and waits. You have to see the pros and cons of everything, but we can probably figure it out.

So, it remains to be seen whether this solution will actually come in October. Specifically, Norway will next meet both Cyprus and Spain in the EU qualifiers. The match against Spain will be held on Norwegian soil. Kick-off is October 15, at 20.45 – in Ulleval.

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Najuma Ojukwu

Najuma Ojukwu

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