Reason won in the end, but the story of the canceled training match in the middle of the pandemic will remain an extremely embarrassing affair for the Norwegian Football Association.
Only one positive thing can be highlighted after the meaningless settlement against Israel was canceled on the same day as the match was scheduled to be played. That conclusion is the only correct one.
Now we at least avoid the absurd experience that Norway-Israel is forced through in a socially closed city, at a time when the fight against the virus is at a tipping point and the opponent even has a squad hit by covid-19.
But unfortunately for the football association, it does not seem to be “no shame to turn around” honor that should be sent in this direction. It is in fact the Norwegian Directorate of Health’s clear recommendation in the twelfth hour, and not a moment of self-knowledge and social responsibility on the part of NFF, which seems to have been really decisive. It is sad that we had to go there before football realized that there will be no training match at a time when the work day is sharpened and people without football uniforms again have to find themselves in intrusive measures in life.
In a slightly bigger picture, we must now only hope that this humiliating experience can be a tremendous wake-up call for the Norwegian Football Association that football does not actually live in its own bubble, but is part of a large society.
When the case is to be evaluated in the offices at Ullevaal, we can also hope that there are critical voices internally in the corridors who realize that this case should have been handled very, very differently. At a time when money trumps everything in the European Football Association (UEFA), and the desire to play at almost any cost triggers predation on players and a strange lack of self-insight, the leadership in Norwegian football could have taken the lead as guiding stars for value-based choices. NFF could even have chosen to say no to playing a match that it would obviously have been unwise to end. Although it has been a lot strange and fussy earlier this year, something like this would now at least create the impression of a union that in the current situation is leaning forward and concerned with what is actually important.
But instead, the alliance has lately tried to make the fight against Israel far more important than it really is. If you are looking for a self-centered focus on something unimportant in the middle of an escalating and uncertain health crisis, and that is why it becomes so embarrassing that there were no adults at home in football in this case either, and that it was the health authorities who ultimately came up with something reminiscent of “an offer you can not say no to”.
The timing of the cancellation is of course boring for anyone who had practically set up for a match, and there are probably many disappointed football hearts out there, who believe that in a difficult time it would even have been fun to watch a training match in the November rain,
Here there is nothing to do but try to encourage the most international-eager to go a few rounds with themselves about what really counts in an extraordinary year, where after all a lot has been done to meet football’s desire to get played games that have a real value.