France will gather this summer the best women’s footballers for the Women’s World Cup. However, the absence of Ada Hegerberg, the best footballer in the World, has meant an unprecedented decision as she refuses to play at the 2019 World Cup.
The last winner of the women’s Ballon d’Or in 2018 will not be in France as the 23-old Olympique Lyon striker demands better conditions than the current ones for women in her country, Norway. Two years ago, she had already left her national team squad once the last UEFA Euro tournament ended.
There is a special reason for the best in women’s soccer to make a stand and not to play for Norway this June. Ada Hegerberg, who won the first women’s Ballon d’Or in 2018 and with Lyon has been five-time winner of the Champions Leaague, quit the Norwegian national team as she didn’t like how women’s soccer is being treated in her home country.
“We tried to solve it, we had meetings, but she decided not to play,” Norway coach Sjörge told BBC. “We respect that and we have been working hard with the other players and they have been doing a great job.”
Hegerberg has 66 caps for Norway, making her debut at the age of 16 and scoring 38 goals since then.
Not long after Hegerberg stepped away from the team, Norway signed an historic equal pay agreement, with the men’s national team taking a pay cut to give the women a pay raise.
But this deal wasn’t enough to convince Hegerberg, who has remained apart from the team since 2017.
“Obviously I’d love to play for my country,” Hegerberg said. “It’s about preparing, taking action, professionalism, really clear points I’ve put quite directly to them when I made the decision. I wanted it to be a clear case, but it got quite messy in the media unfortunately. That was not my intention at all.
“I know what I want and know my values and therefore it’s easy to take hard choices when you know what the ambitions are and what values you stand for, so it’s all about staying true to yourself, be yourself.”
As a result, Sjögren announced his final World Cup roster deicision on May 2, without Hegerberg, who sadly won’t be able to stand out in France for the better of all women who dedicate their passion to football. A special reason after all.