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The Norwegian Players Union (NISO) agreed on an improved CBA on 21 May which will be valid until 30 April 2016. Important areas in the new CBA are more player influence on playing surfaces, education and career fund.

More player influence on choice of playing surface was one of the key topics in the negotiations on a new CBA. Now it is included in the new agreement that players will get a statement before the club takes action to either replace or repair the playing surface.

8 out of 16 teams in the Norwegian Top Division play on artificial turf. In the last ten years, more and more clubs have changed from natural grass to artificial turf without taking the views of the players into consideration. When asked what surface footballers in Norway prefer, 77 percent of the players chose natural grass.

"These are important points. Several previous processes have shown us that players have not had any real influence. The clarification of the wording strengthens the players' influence in matters of great importance to their health and safety", says NISO-president Joachim Walltin.

Study stations at clubs and second career guidance

More and more players combine sport and education. The last four years the percentage of players combining education and sports has increased by 28 percent, with 49 percent of the players now studying as well as playing football. In the new CBA it is agreed that the clubs will facilitate up to five study stations for players at each club location. "Now it is easier for players to study when they are at the clubs. The players often have spare time between training sessions", Walltin says.

The parties also agreed to establish a working group to identify the players' needs for planning a career after sport - including career guidance and scholarships. The parties will also look at solutions as to how this work can be organised and funded.

Career funds

In Norway individual athletes have the opportunity to take part in career funds run by its national federations, but this option is not available for football players. During the negotiations the parties agreed to send a joint request regarding career funds to the Norwegian Confederation of Sports in 2014. The purpose of the request is to ask the Ministry of Finance to make career funds available for team sport athletes as well as for individual athletes.

Walltin continues: "Career funds are very important for athletes in transition to a new career. The current arrangement for career funds is only available for individual athletes. It is very positive that the clubs join us in a request to the Norwegian Confederation of Sports and Ministry of Finance. There are no good reasons for not making it possible for team sports to take part in career funds".

"We are very pleased with the outcome. We have achieved important results on all demands that formed the basis of the negotiations", Walltin concludes.

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