Norway

Capital: Oslo
Population: 4.8 million
Currency: Norwegian Kroner
Official Language: Norwegian
Borders: Sweden (east), Finland (north east)
GNP per Capita: $53,737 (3rd in world)
Main Airport: Gardemoen Oslo

The Tippeligaen is the top division for football in Norway. Its official Norwegian name is Tippeligaen after its sponsor Norsk Tipping, the national lottery and bookmaking service. It is also colloquially known as Eliteserien (“The Elite Series”), although the name has never been official.

Between 1963 and 1990 the name of the league was 1. divisjon (“1st Division”), a name that has later been used for the second level league from 1991. (In 2005 the second level league was officially named Adeccoligaen after its sponsor Adecco.) From the fall of 1948 to 1962 the top division was called Hovedserien (“The Main League”), and between 1937 and the summer of 1948, it was called Norgesserien (“The League of Norway”).

There are 14 clubs in the Norwegian Premier League, half of which are placed in or near the Oslofjord area. The Norwegian league is destinguished for having two teams north of the Arctic Circle: Tromsø IL and Bodø/Glimt. The league will be expanded to 16 for the 2009 season as Odd Grenland, Start and Sandefjord will join the league to replace Ham Kam who finished bottom in 2008.

The winners of the Norwegian Premier League enter the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League, while the second and third placed teams enter the first qualifying round of the UEFA Cup. The fourth placed team may also qualify, depending on what happens in the Norwegian Cup. Normally the winners of the Cup receive the final spot (entering the UEFA Cup in the first round proper). If the winners have already qualified for Europe, the spot is transferred to the losing finalist. If the cup champions and runners-up both finish in the top three of the league, the spot goes to the fourth placed team. The highest placed team that has not qualified for the UEFA Cup is allowed the opportunity to compete in the UEFA Intertoto Cup. The top four teams in Norway also qualify for the Scandinavian Royal League, although this was not played in 2007 due to a dispute over the TV money.

Champions since 1991
2009 Rosenborg
2008 Stabaek
2007 Brann
2006 Rosenborg
2005 Vålerenga
2004 Rosenborg
2003 Rosenborg
2002 Rosenborg
2001 Rosenborg
2000 Rosenborg
1999 Rosenborg
1998 Rosenborg
1997 Rosenborg
1996 Rosenborg
1995 Rosenborg
1994 Rosenborg
1993 Rosenborg
1992 Rosenborg
1991 Viking

The following teams will compete in the 2010 championship

Vålerenga – Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo – Capacity 25,572 – 10,736 average in 2009. Five times winners of the Premier Legaue, the last being in 2005.  Last season they finished 7th in the league.  They used to play at the Bislett Stadium which hosted the 1952 Winter Olympics.  They share the stadium will Lyn Oslo who finished bottom last season and were relegated.  See section below on watching games in Oslo.

Rosenborg – Lerkendal stadionm, Trondheim – Capacity 21,850 –  17,752 average in 2009.  The most famous Norwegian team due to their domination of the national game in the 1990’s and 2000’s and champions again last season.  Have appeared in the Champions League groups stages frequently, often holding their own against the likes of Chelsea and Real Madrid.

Brann – Brann stadion, Brann Bergen – Capacity 17,967 –  15,931average in 2009.  One of the best supported teams in Norway, their Brann Stadion is currently 3/4 way through a complete redevelopment.  They won the championship in 2008.

Viking – Viking Stadion, Stavanger – Capacity 16,600 – 13,077 average in 2009.  Another very well supported club since moving into their new stadium in 2005.  Knocked Chelsea out of the UEFA Cup in 2002.

Lillestrøm – Åråsen stadion, Lillestrøm – Capacity 11,637 – 7,602 in 2009. Five times champions although it has been nearly 20 years since the trophy came home.  However they did win the Norwegian Cup in 2007.  See section below for more details about watching a game in Lillestrom.

Molde – Aker Stadion, Molde – Capacity 11,167 – 7,965 average in 2009.  Stunning stadium overlooking the pretty town and the Fjords.  The club won the 1st division last year to gain promotion. Never won the League Champions – the closest was 2nd in 2005.

Aalesund – Color Line Stadion, Alesund – Capacity 10,778 – 10,218average in 2009. One of the success stories in Norwegian football, having gone from averaging just over 1,000 to 11,000 in three years thanks to a new stadium and success on the field.

Strømsgodset – Marienlyst stadion, Drammen – Capacity 8,500 – 5,316 average in 2009. Promoted to the top flight at the start of 2008.  They have one single League Championship victory to their name in 1970.

Tromsø –  Alfheim stadion, Tromsø – Capacity 8,159 – 5,176 average in 2009.  One of the most northerly clubs in world, playing in the Artic Circle.  They last won the Norwegian league in 1956 and since have a couple of cup wins to their name.  Ticket prices start from 120 Norwegian Kroners.

Stabæk – The Telenor Arena, Oslo – Capacity 15,000. 9,477  average in 2009. Finished in 2nd place in 2007 and then went one better to be champions in 2008.  Made the final qualifying round in the Champions League in 2009 before losing to FC Copenhagen.

Odd Grenland – Skargerak Arena, Skien – Capacity 13,550.  7,368 average in 2009. Promoted to the top league in 2008 and finished a very credible 4th last season.  They are the oldest club in Norway and hail from Skien which is located to the south west of Oslo.  One of the outside tips to challenge for a trophy in the 2010 season.  See section below on watching games in Skein.

Sandefjord – Komplette Arena, Sandefjord – Capacity: 9,000.  5,744 average in 2009.  Sandefjord is a small town to south west of Oslo, located where Torp airport is so this ground is very handy for the Ryanair flights. Promoted when the league expanded in 2008, and last season finished in 9th place.  Currently managed by Paddy Walker.   See section below on watching games in Skien.

IK Start – Sor Arena, Kristiansand – Capacity: 14,300 Capacity.  8,287 average in 2009.   9th last season as the club get used to their new stadium, opened in 2007.  Reached the first round of the UEFA Cup in 2007, losing to Ajax after winning their two preliminary rounds.  Two times winners of the Norwegian Championship, the last being in 1980.

Haugesund – Haugesund Stadium – Capacity: 8,800. A club from the city of Haugesund. It was founded on October 28, 1993, after a merger between the football clubs Djerv 1919 and SK Haugar. FK Haugesund played in Tippeligaen in 1997, 1998 and 2000. In 2007, FK Haugesund reached the Norwegian cup final, where they lost to Lillestrøm SK, 0-2 before they got promoted back to Tippeligaen by winning Adeccoligaen 2009.

Honefoss – AKA Arena, Honefoss – Capacity: 7,500.  Founded as a merger of I.F. Liv, Fossekallen IF and Hønefoss AIL. Fossekallen was merged into Hønefoss AIL in 1940, which merged with Liv in 1987. The club was called Liv/Fossekallen and changed its name to L/F Hønefoss and then Hønefoss Ballklubb. Hønefoss currently compete in the Tippeligaen, the top tier of Norwegian football after promotion at the end of the 2009 season.

Kongsvinger – Gjemselund Stadium, Kongsvinger – Capacity: 2,7500. Founded in 1892. Its home ground is Gjemselund Stadion. It is part of Kongsvinger Idrettslag, which in addition to other football teams, also encompasses several other sports.  Despite limited financial resources, Kongsvinger played in the Norwegian Premier League for 17 straight seasons between 1983 and 1999. Among the club’s achievements were a silver medal in the league in 1992, bronze in 1986 and 1987 and a 1-1 draw against football powerhouse Juventus in the UEFA Cup 1993-94. Promoted back to the top league at the end of 2009.

More details on football in Norway can be found at Footiemap.com

FOOTBALL IN LILLESTROM

About the Åråsen Stadion – Capacity: 11,647

One of the best attended stadiums in Norway, the Åråsen Stadion often attracts attendances over 10,000. Out of the 11,000 odd places,9,937 are seated. The highest attendance at Åråsen was recorded in 2002,
when 13,652 spectators watched Lillestrøm and Vålerenga draw 1-1.

The Åråsen stadion was completed three years later and inaugurated with a match between Lillestrøm and Sarpsborg, on July 7, 1951. A
crowd of 3,500 saw Lillestrøm win 3-2. In 1967, a fire broke out and destroyed the original stadium. The story of Åråsen could have ended then and there, as the Norwegian Public Roads Administration wanted to build a new highway straight down the middle of the pitch. Fortunately for Lillestrøm the project was abandoned and the club could rebuild
their home ground at its original place.

Åråsen saw major redevelopment at the beginning the new millennium, when three new all-seater stands were constructed. The west stand, completed in 2000, is a two-tier stand with a capacity of 4,250. The lower tier has 3,500 seats while the second tier is a VIP-area with 750 seats. In the summer of 2000 a new pitch was laid and under-soil
heating installed. The old bleachers at the north end were torn down and replaced by the 2,500-capacity Diadora Stand in 2001. The development project was finished a year later with the inauguration of the south end, which seats 2,000.

Until recently Åråsen had no permanent flood lighting. The stadium’s proximity to an airfield has prevented permanent flood light masts from being installed and temporary structures have had to be erected for each game, at considerable cost to the club. This problem has now been resolved and Åråsen is now the only stadium in Northern Europe to
boast a semi-retractable flood light system; on matchdays where flood lighting is required the masts can be raised from 12 to nearly 40
meters above the ground, providing optimal conditions.

Close to Åråsen, lies Lillestrøm Stadion, which is used for training, and pre-season matches, and also the newly completed LSK-Hallen, which is an indoor arena used for the same purpose in winter time.

Outside the stadium is a statue to Tom Lund, one of the club’s best known managers who went on to coach Barcelona.

Who Plays There?
Lillestrøm Sportsklubb is a Norwegian football club from the city of Lillestrøm. It was founded in 1917, after the merger of two local football clubs.The club holds the Norwegian record for the most consecutive
years without being relegated. Over the years the club has had around 40 players who have represented the Norwegian national team.

Lillestrøm S.K. was founded on 2 April 1917. It has been Norwegian Elite League champions five times, most recently in 1989, and also in 1986, 1977, 1976, and 1959. Additionally, they have won the Norwegian Cup in 1985, 1981, 1978, 1977 and 2007.  On 14 September 1977 Lillestrøm played against AFC Ajax Amsterdam in the UEFA cup, at Ullevaal Stadium and won 2-0. The match was seen by more than 20,000, which became an all-time record home attendance for any LSK match. But Lillestrøm lost the second-leg match in Amsterdam 4-0. They did also win the now defunct UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2006, the same year they also reached the final of the Royal League, losing to FC Copenhagen.

The past few seasons have been depressing for the fans as they have seen Rosenborg again retain the title they held for so long in the
1990’s.  On 19 August 2008, the club announced that Henning Berg would take over as head coach on1 January 2009, after leaving
his post at Lyn Oslo.  However, last season they could only finish 11th

How to get to the Åråsen stadion
The stadium is easy to find if you are coming  by train as the stadium is located adjacent to the main railway line running from Oslo city centre to Torp airport.  Lillestrøm is the only stop between the two.  Travel time
from either is around 9 minutes.  From the station take a right into Solheimsgata.  Cross over the roundabout into Alexander Kiellands gate and follow this to the stadium.  The walk should take around 10 minutes.

How to get a ticket for the Åråsen stadion
Whilst average attendances are high, virtually no games sell out and so you can buy tickets on the day of the game.  Tickets can also be purchased online fromhttp://www.lsk.no. Tickets cost 170NOK behind
the goals to 260NOK for the side stands.  Childrens tickets are priced between 100NOK to 130NOK.

FOOTBALL IN SKIEN

Skagerak Arena –  Capacity: 13,500

Odd (Falkum) Stadium (13,500). Largest crowd: Approx 12,500 people in 1984 cup semi final against Viking. The stadium was rebuilt to hold a capacity of between 13,000 and 14,000, and was finished in 2008. It is named Skagerak Arena after local sponsor Skagerak Energi.

It was formerly called Odd Stadion, and was built in 1923 as the home ground of Odd Grenland Ballklubb. The stadium is often referred to as Falkum, being situated in that area of Skien.  It has gone through a huge redevelopment since 2006.  The pitch has been rotated 90 degrees in order to free up space. As is increasingly common in Norway, the new surface is artificial. The old main stand is now an end stand, incorporated into the new structure as the only surviving feature of the old stadium. Three new two-tiered stands have been constructed. The east and west stands will each has a capacity of 4,300 while the south end seats 3,000.

Who Plays There?
Odd Grenland is a Norwegian football club from Skien, a main town in the district of Grenland which is around 100km south west of Oslo. It was founded in 1894 and are the club which has won the Norwegian Cup the most times, the last time being in 2000.
Idrætsforeningen Odd was founded in 1885 and is thus one of the oldest athletic associations in Norway still in existence. The name derives from Viktor Rydberg’s novel Seierssverdet (Victory Sword), where one of the main characters was a Norwegian athlete called Orvar Odd.

After struggling in the lower divisions for many years, the club finally made it back to the Norwegian Premier League (Tippeligaen) in 1999 and stayed there until they were relegated in 2007. In 2006 the team only survived relegation by beating Bryne F.K. in the relegation playoffs. In 2007 however, their luck ran out, and they were relegated to the Adeccoligaen after being beaten by Bodø/Glimt in the relegation playoffs. In 2008, with three games still to play, Odd secured the promotion back to the Norwegian Premier League after winning 4-0 against Hødd .

How to get there?
If you are arriving in Skien by train then it is around a 20 minute walk to the stadium.  Turn left and head down Rektor Oms Gate until you reach the junction with Slemsdalgata and then turn right and follow this road until you reach the stadium.  Buses also run on this route on a matchday.

How to get a ticket?
Tickets can be booked in advanced AND printed at home fromhttp://billett.oddgrenland.no/bilettinformasjon.asp.  Prices were not available at time of press but expect to pay between 100 and 150NOK.

About the Komplett Arena – Capacity 9,000

Sandefjord Fotball play their home games at Komplett.no Arena. Komplett.no Arena was opened on July 21, 2007, and cost about NOK 100 million. This is an all modern stadium, with a capacity of about 9,000. Record attendance was set during the opening game versus Lyn on July 21, 2007. 8 103 people attended this game. In the future it is planned to expand the stadium to a capacity of 12 500.

Before Sandefjord Fotball started to use their new home arena, Komplett.no Arena, they used to play their home encounters at Storstadion. Sandefjord Fotball played their home games at Storstadion from 1999 to 2007.

Who Plays There?
The Komplett Arena is home to Sandefjord Football Club who were founded as recently ast 1998 although the club can lay claim to their original existance back in the 1920’s.  They played in the Norwegian Premier League from 1938 to 1962 and again in 1964 and 1965.

After refoundation, the club reached the First Division (Adeccoligaen) in 1999, where they made quick progress and soon settled as strong competitors for promotion to the Premier League. Finishing third in the First Division both in 2002 and 2003 they qualified for play-off matches, but lost both times. In 2004 they finished fourth, but the 2005 season finally proved a success, when they finished second and earned automatic promotion to the top division.

The club performed surprisingly well in their first Premier League season, finishing ninth in the table and reaching the cup final. However, the 2007 season was a disaster and they finished last and were relegated to the Adeccoligaen.

After a poor start to the 2008 season in the Adeccoligaen, Sandefjord recovered strongly to finish second and gain promotion again.  Last season they finished in 8th place, which was pleasing for the club and fans alike.  The two second places in the second tier(Adeccoligaen) in 2005 and 2008 have been their high points, along with their cup final appearance in 2006.  They are currently coached by Irishman Patrick Walker.

How to get to the Komplett.no Arena
The stadium is on the edge of town, close to the E18 motorway.  Regular buses run on a match day to the stadium from the train station, marked Stadion.  If you are coming by car then follow the signs from the motorway for parking.  Sandefjord is only a few miles away from Ryanair’s Norwegian base at Torp, so it is handly for the early monring and late evening flights.

How to get a ticket for the Komplett.no Arena
Tickets for nearly all games are available on the day although you can buy them online through http://billetter.sandefjordfotball.no.  Ticket prices for 2009 were 100NOK behind the goals in the Litex or Meny stands, 150NOK in the SpareBank stand or 200NOK in the main stand.

FOOTBALL IN OSLO

About the Ullevål Stadion – Capacity 25,000

The Ullevaal Stadium is home not only to Lyn Oslo and Vålerenga IF but is also the national stadium. It was inaugurated in 1926 by HRH Crown Prince Olav, arguably Lyn’s most famous supporter, the future King Olav V was a lifelong honorary member of the club. Norwegian Football Association acquired a majority in the stadium in 1960 and Lyn’s ownership has since dwindled to the 13.07% share the club owns today.

Originally the stadium had a running track and could hold more than 35,000 spectators. The running track was eventually removed and there have been several redevelopments over the years, the last of which was completed in 1999 when the main stand was rebuilt. The current all-seater capacity of 25,572 spectators is far greater than Lyn’s average attendance (which has been steadily rising over the past few seasons, ending at 6459 for the 2005 season, 7059 for the 2006, and is predicted to keep rising), but the club has recently chosen to remain at Ullevaal until at least 2010.

The Football Museum is located in the Hafslund Stand. Opened in 2002, the centenary year of the NFF, it documents over 100 years of Norwegian football history. Guided tours of the stadium, including the royal box and the dressing rooms, are available.  It has not been graded as a European host stadium by UEFA as of yet, primarily down to size although facilities are certainly on a par with other 4 and 5 star ones in Europe.

The future of club football at Ullevaal is at any rate uncertain, as both Lyn and Vålerenga have voiced their intent to move to new stadiums when their leases run out in 2010. Vålerenga are planning a new stadium at Valle Hovin, where the club currently have their administration and training facilities. The new stadium would be located closer to the club’s historical roots at Vålerenga and also the majority of their fan base in eastern Oslo. Lyn, meanwhile want to build a new, smaller stadium in the western part of the capital and have focused primarily on securing permission to redevelop Frogner stadion.

How to get to the Ullevål Stadion
The stadium is located next to the Ullevål stadion station of the Oslo T-bane, and is served by lines 3, 4 and 5 (the Sognsvann Line and the Ring Line). The stadium is also within a ten-minute walk from Rikshospitalet station of the Oslo Tramway, located on the Ullevål Hageby Line and served by trams 17 and 18. In addition, the highway Ring 3 runs nearby.

How to get a ticket for the Ullevål Stadion
Tickets for club matches can be purchased online from the club’s websites (http://www.lyn.no and http://www.vif-fotball.no). Tickets start from 160NOK (around £16) and rise to 200 (NOK). Average crowds of less than 10,000 mean there are plenty of tickets for sale on the day of the game from the Fotball Shop which is on the corner of the stadium as you exit the T-Bane. Tickets for other events are sold via the stadium website at http://www.ullevval-stadion.no and include national team games, concerts and the odd preacher man visit.

The Telenor Arena – Capacity 15,000

About the Telenor Arena
Telenor Arena is a multi-use indoor stadium located at Fornebu in the municipality of Bærum, a few miles outside Oslo in Norway. It is the home stadium of current Norwegian champions Stabæk IF. In June 2008, the telecommunications company Telenor acquired the naming rights to the stadium in a deal lasting until 2018. Prior to this, the stadium was known informally as Fornebu Arena, and while still in the concept stages as Blue Dream Arena. It is also referred to by supporters as Hangar’n (the hangar in English), as the stadium resembles a hangar and is located on the premises of the former main airport of Oslo. It is a single-tiered bowl attached to a seven-storey building on one side containing retail space, restaurants and bars for the premium-priced seats, executive boxes, and offices.

As originally planned, the stadium was to have a retractable roof, but due to the high costs involved it was decided that there would instead be a fixed roof covering both the stands and the pitch. For football matches and other sporting events the total capacity is approximately 15,600, whereas for concerts it will be up to 23,000. The first match played at the stadium was a pre-season friendly between Stabæk and IFK Göteborg on 24 January 2009, which ended in a goalless draw. This was followed by a sold-out AC/DC concert on 18 February, the first concert on the European leg of the their Black Ice World Tour. Trond Olsen of Rosenborg became the first player to score a goal at Telenor Arena as Rosenborg defeated Stabæk 1–0 in another pre-season friendly, on 27 February.  The stadium was officially opened on 8 March 2009 with a “Charity Shield”-style match between league champions Stabæk and cup champions Vålerenga, which ended in a 3–1 win for Stabæk.The arena will be the venue for the Eurovision Song Contest in May 2010.

Who Plays There?
Stabæk have been a regular fixture in the top division for most of the past decade.  However it has been in the past five seasons that they have really made their mark on the domestic game.  Promoted as champions in 2005 they finished the following season in 5th place thanks in part of the prolific Daniel Nannskog who was scoring goals for fun.  In 2007 they exceeded all expectations and finished runners up in the league as well as reaching the Norwegian Cup semi-finals, losing out to Brann and Lillestrom respectively. The club came back stronger last season and won the league with a few games to spare from another surprise package Fredrikstad, recording a record 14-0 away win to Vestfossen in the process  They also went one stage further in the cup, reaching the final but eventually lost in the final to Valerenga 4-1.  But the championship in their last season in the Nadderud stadion did mean that the club would have a shot at making the Group Stages of the newly revamped Champions League.

How to get to the Telenor Arena
The easiest public transport option is to catch one of the “Blue Buses” that run from oustide the National Theatre in the city centre every 10 minutes or so on line 31 or 31E if you like to do it in an express way!.  Tickets cost 40NKR and buses run on the 4 (04,14 etc).  Journey time is 21 minutes for the 31 and 14 minutes for the 31E.  You can get a train to Lyskar station from Oslo and then a local bus but it is easier with the buis journey all the way.  Buses wait on the far side of the stadium after the game. 

How to get a ticket for the Telenor Arena
Attendances haven’t exactly been high at the new stadium so it is still possible to buy tickets on the gate.  Ticket prices range from 170NOK to 325NOK depending on where you sit.  the lower price will get you a seat in the end with the home supporters.  Tickets can be purchased online, and printed out as pdf’s from http://www.billettservice.no.

To read more of our latest visit to the Telenor Arena go tohttp://theballisround.co.uk/2009/07/21/er-indoors/

Main Airport: Oslo Gardermoen (OSL)
Telephone: +47 64 81 20 00
Website:
http://www.osl.no

Oslo Airport (OSL) is Norway’s main airport. The airport serviced 18,1 million passengers in 2009. Oslo Airport has been named Europe’s most punctual airport three times by the AEA (Association of European Airlines).

OSL lies in the municipality of Ullensaker, approximately 47 kilometres north of Oslo. The airport has a strong environmental profile and focuses on public transport to and from the airport. A BAA survey in 2007 showed that Oslo Airport Gardermoen has the highest share of public transport in Europe, with a huge 60.1%.

It has regular flights from London Heathrow with BA and SAS and now from London Gatwick with Norwegian. SAS also fly from Manchester.

The 64 kilometres (40 mi) Gardermoen Line opened the same day as the airport, and runs in a tunnel below the airport facilities, where Oslo Airport Station is located below the terminal. The Airport Express Train operates to Oslo Central Station six times an hour in nineteen minutes, with three services continuing onwards via five intermediate stations to Drammen Station. Tickets aren’t cheap at 340NOK return (around £35). You can use your credit card as a ticket by swiping it at the entry gates.

There are two other minor airports around Oslo, both used on a daily basis by Ryanair. Oslo Torp is actually in Sandefjord some 100km south west of Oslo and linked by a 2 hour bus ride. Rygge is also known as Moss and is closer to Oslo although still 60km away. A bus takes 70 minutes to Oslo bus station.

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