Organizers of the large, annual Norway Cup youth football (soccer) tournament are worried. Rain was blamed for a NOK 1.7 million loss after last year’s football tournament, and the weather forecast threatens more rain this week and next.
Thousands of young athletes have been arriving in Oslo for the past several days, and the tournament officially opened on Sunday under mostly sunny skies. Organizers think they have a better contingency plan if the rain starts falling again.
This year the soccer fields have been better prepared to cope with rain. In addition all owners of local soccer fields with artificial grass have been contacted in order to make it possible to switch location on short notice if it becomes necessary.
Bussing teams to artificial grass venues and lower sales at the main arena at Ekeberg just outside downtown Oslo cost the organizers nearly NOK 2 million last year, reports newspaper Aftenposten.
According to Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK), stricter visa requirements may also result in the Norway Cup no longer ranking as the world’s biggest soccer tournament.
The Norway Cup has taken place annually since 1972, and has been the world’s largest competition of its kind. This year 1,380 teams from all over the world are taking part. Around 30,000 players aged 12 – 19 old from 54 countries will be playing at the event, according to Norway Cup’s organizers.
During the Cup, 4,000 matches will be supervised by 360 referees on 62 playing fields. A total of 1,600 volunteers will assist the organizers and the players.
Management claim they also host Norway’s largest annual press centre. This year 734 media representatives will be on hand to cover the event.