-This is not the way we should have it in Norway

-This is not the way we should have it in Norway

Minister of Gender Equality, Lubna Al-Jaafari. Photo: Naina Helen Jama/VG

The difference between East and West in Oslo football is huge. The Minister of Culture and Equality, Lubna Al-Jaafari, was crystal clear in her speech, promising improvement.

– I react to what was revealed in the investigations conducted by VG. This shows a divided city, where sport cannot be played under fair conditions. This is not the way we should act in Norway, she initially said in an email.

She continues:

– All children and young people who wish to do so should have the opportunity to participate in sports, regardless of where they live and their parents’ income.

See VG's overview of access to hot winter playgrounds in Oslo areas:

In the 'Football City Divided' article series, VG delves into the differences between football and Oslo.

  • One football manager believes clubs from wealthier areas are fleeing – with stadiums opening in the winter, expensive training plans and huge outlays on the circuit and national teams.
  • In some of the larger areas on the eastern edge, there is not a single track with underfloor heating to keep the activity going.
  • One football manager described football as a “fine sport” because the “hair-tie factor” became big in Norwegian youth teams over time.
  • At Holmlia, they now “hide” talent from the circuit for fear of losing the best kids.
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Once upon a time, Oslo East stood as an important producer of national team players. A snapshot from 2023 shows that this has changed:

– What has come to light is unfortunately not surprising, says Jafari, and claims that the issues are at the top of the government's agenda with the Labor Party and the Center Party.

After VG publicized the “Football City Divided” issue, other politicians got involved. Among them is Kato Brunvand Ellingsen of the Socialist Left Party.

“What is the Government doing now and what does the Minister think we can do together to counter the differences that the VG article shows and to ensure equal opportunities for children and young people in sport, regardless of where they grow up? Jaffrey askswho must therefore answer for themselves before Parliament.

The Culture Minister – who has been in government since the summer of 2023 – told VG that the government allocated NOK 225 million last year, which was allocated to clubs in low-income areas.

She says that 100 of these millions enter club accounts these days.

– This is the money we know works. It is clear that more will be needed in the future.

Jhaveri also claims that the government enjoys participation and inclusion for all at the top of sports policy and volunteerism.

– It is one of the most important reasons that makes me wake up in the morning. Sport should create and strengthen society. In a very short time, we will present an action plan that includes a number of actions to ensure participation and inclusion.

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At a football match: Minister for Culture and Equality, Lubna Jafri, here in conversation with Swedish Football Association Secretary General Karl Peter Lücken during the Women's Cup final at Ulleval Stadium in November 2023. Photo: Annika Bird/NTB

VG also asked Jaffery more questions regarding the issue.

  • Like who is responsible for the fact that it has become a class divide.
  • How to solve the main path and construction problem.
  • What did the 225 million go to and why does it work as it claims. Not least how millions solve the problem of path and infrastructure.
  • Finally, what does the Minister of Culture and Gender Equality think about the work done by the Oslo Municipality and the Norwegian Football Association to balance bias in the capital.

She answers like this:

-Clearly there are many who bear their share of responsibility for the bias shown by VG. We must of course, as a state, a municipality and sport itself, look at the means we have for financing, creating plans and planning sports facilities in order to correct biases.

She says they will soon present an action plan to increase participation in sport, culture and outdoor living to address this issue.

– We see a very good impact of the NOK 225 million that we have specifically targeted for engagement and inclusion in the form of a lot of activities in clubs in low-income areas that would not have happened otherwise. Naturally, planning and building sports facilities will take a little longer.

Najuma Ojukwu

Najuma Ojukwu

"Infuriatingly humble internet trailblazer. Twitter buff. Beer nerd. Bacon scholar. Coffee practitioner."

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