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The Norwegian football players association (NISO) signed a new agreement with the clubs, which includes important provisions about career guidance and training. The agreement illustrates that players and clubs both keep an eye on the athlete’s short-term and long-term wellbeing.

Union President Joachim Walltin (photo) is very pleased with the outcome of negotiations on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), which is valid until 30 April 2018 and applies to handball, football and ice hockey.

“We have every reason to be satisfied with the result. We made important progress on demands regarding career guidance, work equipment and training.”

One of the main achievements is the agreement on career guidance. If an athlete now signs a professional contract, he or she is offered career guidance to help prepare him or her for the moment his or her active career is over. It minimizes the athlete’s risk on a problematic transition to a new career after his playing days have finished. Worldwide, many athletes suffered from a multitude of problems after their retirement.

NISO, while negotiating the CBA between May and August, also agreed on a career guidance program with the Norwegian football federation (NFF). Walltin: “The program will help players to identify their future plans after their playing career, guide players who need part-time work and also helps players on the verge of retirement to get in the job market.”

Next to the aforementioned results, NISO and the clubs recognized they both want to add a provision to the standard player’s contract that guarantees athletes will receive their full wages while they are suffering from illness or injuries. Currently there is a “widespread practice” that clubs pay the full wages, but this has not been arranged officially, and athletes also risk their right to social security.

FIFPro’s Head of Legal Department Wil van Megen says that the clubs and players in Norway have taken an important step: “This CBA illustrates that they take their work seriously. Having an eye on both the present and the future implies that everyone is aware of their responsibilities. These achievements can serve as an example for other unions and employer organisations around Europe.”

NISO’s negotiation committee included football players Ingrid Hjelmseth and Morten Skjønsberg, handball player Karoline Dyhre Breivang, hockey player Dan Nygård and staff members Joachim Walltin, Thomas Kristensen and Eirik Monsen.

The parties agreed the following amendments to the CBA 2016-18:

§6 Education and career
Upon signing a new professional contract the athlete is offered career guidance. If such needs are specified, the club and the player locate an appropriate counselling service.

§8 Training
Employees shall at all times ensure a satisfactory training option. This is also specified in the standard contract between club and player.

§10 Physical environment
Employers are obliged to provide the necessary work equipment to the employees in accordance with the Norwegian Working Environment Act § 4-4. Necessary work equipment meaning work equipment workers need to perform their duties in a satisfactory manner.