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Norway reflects on Women's U19 finals success

After the success of the finals, when the Norwegian hosts managed to arrange unprecedented sunshine as well as everything else, UEFA.com sat down with two of the organisers.

Silje Bakkene (L) and Kari Luell outside tournament headquarters in Lillestrom
Silje Bakkene (L) and Kari Luell outside tournament headquarters in Lillestrom ©Sportsfile

After the success of the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship, when the hosts managed to arrange unprecedented sunshine as well as anything else, UEFA.com sat down with two of the Football Association of Norway's Local Organising Committee: Silje Bakkene and Kari Iuell.

UEFA.com: What were your roles at this tournament?

Silje Bakkene: I'm responsible for all volunteers, including TLOs (Team Liaison Officers) and drivers. My task was to find and recruit them about six months ago, train them and follow up during the tournament. I've also taken on a variety of tasks, from organising the official dinner to taking care of VIP and hospitality in Strommen.

Kari Iuell: I'm responsible for accommodation. Not just rooming, but taking care of menus, all the extra requests for ice, laundry, food. The job was much broader than I expected. It started in autumn 2012 and got busier and busier thereafter. Since the draw [in April] it has been pretty much full-on.

UEFA.com: When does the tournament finish for you? Surely it goes beyond the Sunday's final.

Silje: I daren't think. When all drivers and TLOs have gone home most of my work is done, but I'll follow up with them – we hope they would like to continue volunteering at other events in the future. We do not cut all ties. All TLOs we recruited are between 20 and 30 as we wanted to increase the number of young people in our pool of volunteers.

Kari: After the tournament comes the invoicing and payment administration – that's a job in itself. I will also have an evaluation process, noting down the key learning points for future events and helping next year's hosts, Israel. This is all in addition to my regular work as a consultant within the competition department, where I do work around the Norwegian leagues, cups and national team matches.

UEFA.com: What have been the highlights?

Silje: The feeling after the first matchday – when all the venue teams arrived back at the office in good spirits. Then there's the feeling I had when the teams were walking onto the pitch with the walk-on music playing, knowing that the tournament was about to kick-off. All the effort had been worthwhile. That gave me goose bumps.

UEFA.com: What have you learned from the tournament and how do you hope to benefit from the experience?

Silje: It has been more of a joint effort between us compared to our normal routine, and I hope we can take this with us back to our offices at Ullevaal.

Kari: I can only agree with Silje. I've learnt something new every day. I've been here for 20 days now and my office at Ullevaal seems far away.

UEFA.com: What have you achieved in hosting this tournament?

Silje and Kari: We would say the awareness it has brought to the different venues and those involved at a local level. There's no difference to them or us, whether we are organising a men's senior national team match or a junior women's event – we do it with the same pride and attention to detail. The tournament may not have affected the masses but it has certainly had an impact at local and club level, including those kids volunteering as ball boys, ball girls and mascots.

The LOC team in Norway
Andre Flem, media
Are Hokstad, HQ coordinator/assistant project leader
Åse Førland Berntsen, protocol & hospitality
Bente Bratbak, hospitality and social events
Bjørn Knudsen, office manager
Dag Vestlund, tournament director
Erik Helmersen, marketing & commercial
Jon Jamessen, TV
Lars Stensby, stadium accreditation
Leif Ivar Akselvoll, youth program
Ole Myhrvold, venues, training ground
Thorkild Lillesveen, ticketing
Vidar Sanderud, match director
Johan Sjøberg, match director
Rune Nordhaug, transport
Alexander Ravnaas, IT
Ole Martin Vebenstad, logistics
Silje Bakkene, TLOs & Volunteers
Kari Iuell, accommodation