The football tournament that bills itself as the world’s largest for children and youth aged 10 to 19 got underway once again in Oslo over the weekend. Norway Cup has seen its number of teams decline, however, with 1,899 this year and less than 100 of them from abroad.
Newspaper Dagsavisen reported on Monday that while Dana Cup in Denmark had “only” 970 teams playing this year by comparison, fully 88 percent are from outside Denmark. That compares to just 5 percent for Norway Cup.
Gothia Cup in Sweden, which played out earlier this month in Sweden, could sport 1,731 teams, nearly half of them (854) from abroad. A spokesperson for Norway Cup, which has hosted more than 2,000 teams in previous years, admits the other tournaments “have been better than us at getting foreign teams.” The tournament still cooperates closely with Norway’a foreign ministry and foreign aid agency Norad, which often sponsor teams from developing or troubled countries. Six Palestinian teams are participating this year, along with one from North Korea. A total of 30 nations will be represented through the week, including Norway.
It all started in 1972 with 420 teams and 8,400 participants. That steadily increased, with as mamy as 30,000 taking part in recent years. Thousands of volunteers also make it happen, with matches held all over the Oslo area on more than 70 playing fields. This year’s tournament runs through August 4.