– It could be that I was a little ahead of my time, entrusts Ada Stolsmo Hegerberg to NRK.
In 2017, the super striker opted to take a break from the national team. At the same time, she entered into an agreement with the Norwegian Football Federation (NFF). Hegerberg called for, among other things, better monitoring, better planning and better communication.
– Now you see there are more people who are aware of many of the same issues, says Hegerberg.
Over the past year, several top international players have seen ultimatums from their federations. In countries like Spain, France and Canada, the stars have united.
Hegerberg received no public support from friends of the national team.
– I was very alone in it, at the time when I did it, confesses Hegerberg, before she uses the word “domino effect” about the many battles that female profiles have led recently.
Anja Sønstevold made her debut for the Norwegian national team in 2014 and was a national team regular until Hegerberg said no to the national team. She’s not sure if Hegerberg’s no led others to do the same at other national teams, but says:
– I think it will open doors in the NFF. It made them open their eyes a little more to appreciate women’s football and, among other things, the equal pay agreement that came. I think that started that process. I don’t know if it made other international countries do it, but all the “circumstances” make people have the courage to defend it. I think it’s good, she said.
– Incredibly difficult choice
Speaking at a press conference from New Zealand, Hegerberg said football still has a long way to go and women need to stand together.
– It’s really about being united, because we are all fighting the same fight. And that is that the sport has to be professional and that we have to leave the sport in a better state than we found it in, says Hegerberg, who is clear that she doesn’t think there will be changes without the players themselves saying so.
Midfielder Vilde Bøe Risa says “it was a tough choice” Hegerberg made that time.
– We often play with people who play for other national teams and know how they feel in their association. There is great respect for what the players do. It’s an incredibly difficult and difficult choice for them to choose away from the national team. It’s like what hangs the highest, she says.
– It’s important that you take this fight, although you really shouldn’t rush into anything, should you. I think making sure that those who come after are better off, I think is important. We can’t accept too much either. Today, as women’s football grows, changes must also be made within the association, says Risa.
– This is an extremely difficult decision to make
Last fall, 15 players threatened to withdraw from the Spanish women’s national football team if coach Jorge Vila was not removed. In February, several French profiles did the same, including Lyon star defender Wendie Renard, who is Ada Hegerberg’s good teammate.
Renard withdrew out of concern for her “mental health” and returned to the national team following the dismissal of French national team coach Corinne Deacon in March.
– Now it got resolved pretty quickly. And I can only promise that no player wants to make such a decision. It’s an extremely difficult decision to make, says Hegerberg, and continues:
– But I know Wendie, and Wendie is a very strong woman with strong values. She defends herself and defends football, in particular. So there was no other way out for her.
Although France and Renard are potentially difficult opponents for Norway at the World Cup, Hegerberg is delighted with the participation of his friend.
– Thank God, I’m just saying. What we want are the best players available at all times. But it is a constant reminder that changes are underway, there are mentalities that must change at the highest level of associations and organizations.
Norway will play the opening game of the FIFA World Cup against hosts New Zealand on Thursday, July 20.
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