The night before the tournament began – NorwayCup.no found themselves in a lesser known meeting that takes place each year.
It is the preparation and welcome meeting for the Match Officials, where any rule changes and practical information is distributed by the Tournament’s Officiating Department.
This year sees two records set for the tournament – with 474 Officials attending from 22 different nations.
This year’s one was more important than usual due to there being a block of new rules being used for the very first time at the Norway Cup.
- New Pitch Numbering System: The system of numbering fields has been simpified, with new codes to designate the type of field (either 11, 9 or 7 a side) – for example, Pitch 4 at Ekeberg has changed from just “4” to “4EK11”. There is also a new set of fields at Tørteberget/Marienlyst to accommodate the extra games to be played this year.
- Live Results – immediately after each game, the Referee must report the result to one of the many Information Tents around the site so the new Live Results system can be kept updated.
- 3 v 3 Football – on Friday and Saturday of the tournament – a 3 v 3 competition is taking place at Ekeberg. Around 500 teams from the local area will be coming to participate in younger age groups. This version of football is played without goalkeepers.
- Flying Substitutes – in the B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,M,P,R,S,T,U,V,X and Y age classes teams do not need to wait for a stoppage in the match to make substutions (the only time a stoppage must occur is if a team wishes to change goalkeeper). In the A, Q and W groups – standard FIFA Laws apply.
- Protests by Teams – any teams that wish to lodge a protest about anything happening in a match must do so as they are leaving the field – and they must inform the referee at that time.
- Yellow Cards – in the A, Q and W groups – normal rules apply.
B,C,D,E,F,M,P,R,S,T,U,V groups – if a player is shown a first Yellow Card then they are to leave the field for 5 minutes. A second yellow will see them dismissed from the field of play as usual.
H,I,X,Y groups – no cards are issued.
- Play Off Games – in all play-off matches where the scores are level at the end of normal time will then go into Extra Time of 2 halves of 5 minutes – with the Golden Goal rule in operation (first team to score will win the game). If the scores are still level after extra time – then a Penalty Shoot Out will be used to decide the game. The coin toss to decide the result of a match has been removed.
There have also been a few changes to the logistical side of the tournament for the Referees.
The spiritual home of Norway Cup Referees, Branfjell School, is closed for a complete renovation – so the Match Officials are being accommodated in either Holtet School or the KFUM Hall. Match Card collection and all meals are served in Holtet and shower facilities are being provided in the KFUM Hall.
Finally – the Norway Cup Referee of the Year award will now be decided by nominations from other officials – which will then be shortlisted and voted on by the Referee Committee.