Economic red card for Vålerenga FC

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Oslo-based A-league football club Vålerenga has slashed more than NOK 20 million (USD 3.3 million) from its 2014 budget, including a 12.5 per cent pay cut for top level players. Another NOK 10 million in activity costs will be shaved off across all departments, and 14  jobs will be eliminated.

Newspaper Dagsavisen reports the club is feeling the pinch after several “gold-coated” contracts were signed under the tenure of previous team manager, Martin Andresen. Club chairman Åge Petter Christiansen has told newspaper Dagsavisen that “It’s clear much of that which happened then has now got us trapped. And this is something that has affected the entire Norwegian football economy.”

Christiansen says he’s impressed with the way the staff, trainers and players have taken the bad economic news. He added that they have an agreement on a bonus model that means some or all of the salary cut could eventually be repaid, if the club’s economy improves. Dagsavisen reports the top salaries at Vålerenga are around NOK 2.5 million, even though several of those players haven’t had a permanent place on the team.

Vålerenga had a poor season. When new manager Kjetil Rekdal took over in January, he warned the team wouldn’t be at the forefront until next year. The budget crisis throws hopes of a comeback into doubt, but Christiansen remains optimistic. “We’ve calmed down and laid a realistic budget where we use the brain more than the heart,” he says. The club will convene an extraordinary general meeting this week, and there’s a chance it may also receive fresh funding from long-time benefactors, including shipowner John Fredriksen.

newsinenglish staff