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All is not well during Norway's bleak mid winter

For those of you not too familiar with the beautiful game in Scandinavia, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (pictured) might be the only three words that pop in to your head when 'football' and 'Norway' are mentioned together in the same sentence.

Total Football turned to Trondheim-based football fan Frank Sollie to bring us up to date.

Why Molde is good in Norway

I have been waiting to write the season review from Norway due to the fact that the Norwegian FA have discovered fraud, and attempted fraud, in various contracts.

The season itself was not a very surprising one. It went as expected. Manchester United hero Solskjaer returned to coach Molde. A club celebrating its 100th birthday, and with rich investors, they were aiming for the title.

They even got it. Surprising? Not really. Rosenborg have spent all the money from their nine times in the Champions League on a stadium and decent players (their players have been good enough to have given them 18 championships in the last 22 years).

Not a bad investment when you look at the trophies and the future (Rosenborg's youth team have enjoyed a habit of either winning or finishing second in junior league tournaments).

Molde, on the other hand, are Rosenborg's rivals since the dawn of time. They finally took the Norwegian Tippeligaen title after several silver medals in the league over the last 20 years. They deserved it.

Many say they won the league because Rosenborg and a few others weren't playing well, but isn't it like that in all leagues - that the winning team is better (or less worse) than the rest?

Front pages

Creative contracts have been on the front pages in Norway over the last few months.

Stabaek bought back a player from a French club with a transfer clause. They sold the player to another Norwegian club at a very low price and included a youngster, at a very high price. Needless to say, this didn`t look right.

The case is still not closed, but Stabaek have payed the French club the equivalent of £150,000 and a trial is coming up in court.

Another player had a bonus clause with his original owner, who again had a deal with his Norwegian club. The more games he played, the more money he got, from his previous owner - who was in a Baltic state.

He got his money from that state and didn't pay taxes on his bonus.

So, the perception of a peaceful and idyllic Norway is not so perfect when you scratch the surface.

The Norwegian FA want to get to the bottom of this and are looking into every transfer over the last three years. This is going to take a while.

The Norwegian League is more exciting in the boardrooms than in the stadiums. I can't wait for next season.


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