Armed police would be in place when Norway Cup, the world’s largest football tournament for children and youth, kicks off in Oslo during the weekend. With around 30,000 attending the tournament, many of them from abroad, security has been given a high priority.
“In connection with all large events, the police are now arming in the entire district,” Martin Strand of the Oslo Police District told newspaper Dagsavisen. Norway still maintains a generally unarmed police force, but terror threats in recent years have often prompted them to carry weapons.
Norway Cup, which also will feature a girls’ football team from North Korea for the first time, officially opens on Saturday, with play getting underway on Sunday. It has attracted 1,908 teams this year that will play around 6,000 matches on 89 different fields at seven sites around the Norwegian capital. Norway Cup also features evening concerts and other entertainment for its young participants, their coaches and many parents.
The first Norway Cup was played in 1972 and the event has more than tripled in size and scope since. It’s traditionally arranged by Oslo’s Bækkelaget Sportsklub but also attracts lots of support from local and state politicians and businesses, with many players housed in camps set up at various local schools. The annual tournament runs through August 5.