Valerenga bend rules with keeper substitution

Goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld has experienced all kinds of situations in a career that has taken him from Tottenham Hotspur to CFR Cluj and Calgary Storm to Energie Cottbus, but what happened on Monday was a new one even for him.

The 33-year-old Canada international was substituted immediately after the start of Valerenga's Norwegian top flight match against Honefoss - not that he had done anything wrong.

He was suffering from an ankle injury and was not really fit to play but was forced to start the match.

He was soon replaced by Gudmund Taksal Kongshavn so that Kongshavn would be eligible to play on Tuesday for Valerenga II - the club's reserve side battling against relegation from the Norwegian second division.

If Kongshavn had started against Honefoss he would not have been allowed to play on Tuesday but as he came on as a substitute he can start against Gjovik.

While Valerenga technically broke no regulations on Monday and went on to win the game 3-2 to consolidate their mid-table position, others took a dim view of their actions.

"I do not think it was fair play if I'm being completely honest," Gjovik chief executive Jorg Terje Sagenes told Norwegian radio station NRK.

"We think that it is regrettable that it is done this way, but Valerenga has not done anything illegal, so in that way they are on dry land," he added.

Norwegian FA general secretary Kjetil Siem said Valerenga's actions could be seen as unfair on other second division sides.

"Obviously Valerenga don't want to get relegated, but it's a special situation for those they are battling against. Even if it's not illegal, it's certainly a grey area," he told the website of the Verdens Gang newspaper.