When this year’s tournament kicks off on Saturday there will be record participation, lots of new projects – and with a new boss.
It all started with 420 teams at Ekeberg in 1972. 44 years later there are altogether 2,199 teams entered in what is today regarded as the world’s biggest football tournament. Last year there were 1639 teams, so the tournament is still growing.
There are some changes in the Norway Cup corridors this year. Frode Kyvåg, who has led the weeklong football party 39 of 44 times, has relinquished the title Mr. Norway Cup to Tony Isaksen.
– It is with humility that I now have taken over. This is a large and exciting task, says the new Secretary-General said.
– Now that I have taken over, it has been important to take care of the best, and so it has been important to develop the tournament in step with society, he adds.
For there are some new things before it gets underway Friday, explains Isaksen. Among other things, there will be opened a 2,200 square meter “food land” where families can eat healthy food and free childcare.
– We want an alternative to all the sausages and hamburgers, and that families get a real breather, says the new Norway Cup boss.
In an expanded UN cooperation, the football tournament fronts more than just a ball kicking.
– Every day, there will be new lectures and activities, including a private girls’ day. The focus then is how to include more girls in sports and also prevent dropout, says Isaksen.
In collaboration with Bufetat and Norwegian football club, over 40 unaccompanied minor asylum seekers have been deployed in 20 teams that will participate in the tournament.
– These are young people who have gone from Syria, through Europe and arrived in Norway. So this has been an important measure, said Isaksen.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today