Key moments in the history of Norwegian Football

The Norwegian Football Association (NFF) was founded in 1902 and became a member of FIFA in 1908. The same year Norway played its first international game where they lost 3-11 to Sweden.

In 1936 Norway took its first, and still, only medal in a senior men’s championship. “The Bronze team” beat Turkey 3-2 in the bronze final in the Berlin Olympics. Two years later Norway qualified for their first World Championship, but were beaten by Italy who later went on to win the tournament.

In 1954 Norway became a member of UEFA, and in 1960 Fredrikstad FK was the first Norwegian club to play in the UEFA Cup. No less a team than Ajax were beaten in the first round, but the Danish side Århus were too strong in the next round. Eight years later Lyn managed to reach the quarter finals in the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, but Barcelona just managed to win the tie after two even games.

In 1969 professional footballers were allowed to play for the Norwegian national team.

Three years later the Norway Cup – the world’s largest football tournament for children and youths – was hosted for the first time in Oslo.

In 1973,  women’s football was established, with its own rules. In 1978 the women’s national team played their first international match, where they lost 1-2 to Sweden. Nine years later Norway hosts the Women’s European Championship. The final was play against Sweden, and this time the Norwegians won 2-1. The year after, in 1987, Sweden was again the opponent in the final in the first unofficial Women’s World Championship. Norway won 1-0. Two years later Norway lost the European Championship final 1-4 to Germany.

In 1990 Egil ”Drillo” Olsen was appointed head of the men’s national team.

In 1991 the Women’s national team won the silver medal in the first official Women’s World Championship. They lost 1-2 to the USA in the final.

The year after was also a great year for Norwegian Football. In the European Championship in Germany, the Norwegian U21 team managed to secure the first medal in a championship on the men’s side, since the bronze team in 1936.

In 1994 the men’s national team participated in their first World Championship in modern times. National coach Egil “Drillo” Olsen and his side took four points in the group stage, the same as Ireland, Italy and Mexico. The goal difference was also even among the teams, but Norway were eliminated as they had scored the least number of goals.

In 1995 the Women’s national team became World Champions. Germany were beaten 2-0 in the final, and the same year Hege Riise was voted the best women footballer of the year. 

The year after Norway claimed the bronze medal in the first Olympic tournament for women’s football. They beat Brazil 2-0 in the bronze final.

In 1997 Norway hosted the Women’s European Championship together with Sweden. For the second time in a row, the men’s national team qualified for the World Championship. Both times Egil “Drillo” Olsen was the coach.

Norway beat Brazil 2-1 in the 1998 World Championship in France, and advanced from the group stage. However, Italy were too strong in the next game, and Norway lost 0-1.

After the World Championship in 1998 Nils Johan Semb took over as the national coach. In 1999 the men’s national team qualified for the European Championship for the first time.

In 2000 the Women’s national team won the Olympic gold medal after beating the USA 3-2 in the final in Sidney. The men’s national team wasn’t able to advance from the group stage in the European Championship, in spite of them beating Spain 1-0 in the opening game.

In 2001 Rosenborg BK wins the Tippeliga for the 10th time in a row, and qualifies for the group stage in the UEFA Champions League for the 7th year in a row - a remarkable feat for a Norwegian club.

In 2002 the Norwegian Football Association celebrated its 100th anniversary.

In 2004 Per Ravn Omdal retired as football president, and was succeeded by Sondre Kåfjord. Omdal had been president for 12 years and was a prominent member of UEFA.

In 2005 the Women’s national team won silver in the European Championship. Germany were too strong in the final. To reach the Word Championship in Germany the men’s national team needed to win a playoff match against the Czech Republic. The Czechs were ranked number three in the world at the time and was to strong.

Key People (click on the links and download pictures free of use):

President: Yngve Hallén
General Secretary: Kjetil Siem
Head of top football department: Nils Johan Semb
Head of grass root department:Alf Hansen
Head of communication: Svein Graff
Head of marketing: Tom Fodstad

Facts and figures (2011):

Norwegian population: 4 985 000
Clubs: 1 933
Teams: 27 532
Total members: 367 142
Numbers of girls/women: 108 351
Matches each year (app): 330 000
Spectators Tippeligaen (Premier League for men): 1 918 520
Spectators Toppserien (Premier League, women): 23 556
Referees: 2 532
Volunteers (app): 130 00
Participants NFF-courses: 72 681

Organizing of the league system

Elite football in Norway is defined as Tippeligaen (the Premier League for men), Toppserien (Premier League for women) and Adeccoligaen (Championship for men). These leagues, together with the 1st division for women, and the four 2nd division leagues for men, are administered centrally from the NFFs HQ at Ullevaal Stadium. These are all national leagues.

Lower division football and football for children and youths, are administered by the 18 football regions. With the population number taken into account, the number of active footballers in Norway is very high compared with other European countries. As well as administering the football matches, the football regions are the executive link in club development, football education and local player development.


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