Sarpsborg 08 FF

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Sarpsborg 08
Sarpsborg 08 FF logo.svg
Full nameSarpsborg 08 Fotballforening
Founded15 January 2008;13 years ago (2008-01-15)
Ground Sarpsborg Stadion
Capacity8,022 [1]
ChairmanHans Petter Arnesen
Head coach Mikael Stahre
League Eliteserien
2020 Eliteserien, 12th of 16
Website Club website
Soccerball current event.svg Current season

Sarpsborg 08 Fotballforening, commonly known as Sarpsborg 08 or simply Sarpsborg ( [ˈsɑ̀ʂbɔr] ), is a Norwegian football club based in Sarpsborg, playing in Eliteserien. Sarpsborg 08 and its predecessors played in 1. divisjon from 2005 to 2010. In 2010, the club was promoted to the Tippeligaen, the top league in Norway, but finished last and was relegated back to 1. divisjon in 2011. In 2012, they were promoted again and 6 years after, they qualified for their first Europa League group stage. They play their home games at Sarpsborg Stadion.




Football in Sarpsborg has traditionally been dominated by Sarpsborg FK (SFK), which won the Norwegian Cup six times and played 20 seasons in the top division, and to a lesser extent IL Sparta, which won the Norwegian Cup in 1952 and played nine seasons in the top division. However, after SFK's relegation from the 1974, no teams from Sarpsborg played in the top division for the next two decades. In 1999, 16 teams in the Sarpsborg area joined forces to create a team that could compete in the top divisions of Norwegian football, called Sarpsborg Fotball, which overtook SFK's spot in the league-system. In its first season, the team was relegated from the 2. divisjon, and several clubs, including both SFK and Sparta, withdrew from the collaboration.

The remaining clubs in the "Sarpsborg Fotball" project formed a new club called Borg Fotball, which won promotion to the 2. divisjon in 2002, but was relegated again in 2003. Meanwhile, Sparta was promoted to the Second Division the same season, and re-entered the collaboration club which now was renamed FK Sparta Sarpsborg. The club earned promotion to 1. divisjon (the second tier of Norwegian football) in 2005.


At the end of the 2007 season, the last major club in the district, Sarpsborg FK, joined the collaboration of teams and ended a rather long and hefty rivalry between the two clubs. At the same time, in an effort to unite the different factions within the collaboration, the jersey was changed and the club renamed itself Sarpsborg Sparta FK. This name remained a source of contention throughout the 2008 season, however, and a new name, Sarpsborg 08 FF, was adopted in 2009.

The 2009 season started badly for Sarpsborg, and it appeared they would be fighting against relegation to the 2. divisjon. The situation worsened when the Football Association of Norway determined that Sarpsborg 08 had submitted an unrealistic budget when they obtained their license to play in the 1. divisjon, and were penalized three points in June, leaving Sarpsborg in a relegation spot. [2] However, after Roar Johansen became coach, the second part of the season went well for the team, which not only climbed out of the relegation spots, but finished fifth, allowing them to participate in the qualification matches for the 2010 Tippeligaen. In the semi-final match of the qualification, Sarpsborg defeated local rivals Fredrikstad FK 2–0 (who were therefore relegated from the top division). [3] In the home match of the qualification final, Sarpsborg defeated Kongsvinger 3–2, [4] but lost the second leg 3–1 and remained in the 1. divisjon. [5]

Promotions and development

The 2010 season ended with a 4–0 home-win against Alta. This meant that the team ended in second place, after league-winner Sogndal, and won the right to play in the 2011 edition of the Tippeligaen.

The 2011 season started with a surprising 3–0 win against Molde in Ole Gunnar Solskjær first match as manager of Molde. But after a good start, Sarpsborg was relegated back to 1. divisjon on 23 October 2011, when they lost 3–0 away at Brann with three rounds left to play. The club finished last with only 21 points.

In the 2012 season, Sarpsborg finished the 1. divisjon in second place and was promoted to Tippeligaen. On 3 January 2013, former Sheffield United striker Brian Deane was appointed as head coach. In 2015, Geir Bakke took over as head coach and led the club to their first Norwegian Cup final. They lost the 2015 Norwegian Football Cup Final 0−2 against Rosenborg. In 2017 they repeated the feat and reached the final again, but lost 2–3 against Lillestrøm. Sarpsborg finished in third place in the 2017 Eliteserien, their first medal-winning position in club history.

On 30 August 2018 Sarpsborg 08 qualified for the group stage of the 2018–19 UEFA Europa League for the first time in history. [6]

African springboard

Sarpsborg 08 has gained a reputation as one of the best springboards for African players in need of a European acclimatization club. Senegalese Makthar Thioune played three years for Sparta Sarpsborg and Sarpsborg Sparta (Sarpsborg 08's predecessors) in the second tier, and when Molde purchased him in 2009 he was immediately "Player of the Year" in the top league, with the third highest rating in a 25-year period. He later played in Germany. Moroccan-born Mohamed Elyonoussi blossomed during the 2013 season, and Sarpsborg 08 manager Brian Deane stated he was worth £10M in a few years, an unusual valuation in Norwegian football. Sarpsborg 08 sold him to Molde too, but only got a tenth of Deane's prediction in 2014. Only four years later Southampton purchased Elyounoussi from Basel for £18M. Another big Sarpsborg 08 transfer in 2014 happened when Guangshou R&F manager Sven Göran Eriksson purchased Aaron Samuel from Sarpsborg 08 for €1.4m. Samuel blossomed in Sarpsborg with 13 goals in a year, after only 2 goals in big city club Vålerenga. He also scored both his goals for Nigeria in 2014. In 2017 Sarpsborg 08 signed Krepin Diatta from Senegal. He hardly played in his first half year in the club, but then blossomed with 5 goals and 8 assists in 3 months. Diatta was then sold to Brügge for €2.65m and later to Monaco for €16.7m. In 2019 Sarpsborg 08 signed Malian Ismaila Coulibaly and while acclimatized he only started 5 matches in the first 35 league matches while in the club. Then he was given the chance at a time the club was rock bottom with five losses in five matches. The club then took 17 points in the next 6 weeks and Coulibaly dominated with 4 goals, leading to Sheffield United purchasing him for €2m. Being only the 16th largest municipality in Norway, the processing of African teenage talents has been a major success factor leading to Sarpsborg 08 fighting above the size of the city.

Recent history

SeasonLeaguePos.Pl.WDLGSGAP Cup Top scorerNotes
2000 2. divisjon Down-arrow-14.png922679333625First roundJon BjerkholtAs Sarpsborg Fotball, relegated to the 3. divisjon
2001 3. divisjon 5221228473338First roundPål ØstbyAs Navestad in tables, commercial name was FF Sarpsborg
2002 3. divisjon Up-arrow-14.png1221921761459First roundJørn HolmenName changed to Borg Fotball, promoted to 2. divisjon
2002 3. divisjon 2221651672753First roundAs FK Sparta Sarpsborg, status as secondary club
2003 2. divisjon Down-arrow-14.png11225912355624Second roundGjermund B. HansenAs Borg Fotball, relegated to the 3. divisjon, name changed to FK Sparta Sarpsborg 2
2003 3. divisjon Up-arrow-14.png1221741882455Second roundLasse AlexandersenAs FK Sparta Sarpsborg, promoted to the 2. divisjon
2004 2. divisjon 2261646633852Second roundLasse AlexandersenAs FK Sparta Sarpsborg, now defined as primary club
2005 2. divisjon Up-arrow-14.png1262114902864Second roundRonald TurnerPromoted to the 1. divisjon
2006 1. divisjon 103011613445637First roundFredrik Dahm
2007 1. divisjon 13308814505232Second roundBjørnar JohannessenAvoided relegation because Raufoss had its license revoked
Club history
2008 1. divisjon 103010713454337Third roundMartin WiigName changed to Sarpsborg Sparta FK
2009 1. divisjon 53015510473847Second roundMartin WiigName changed to Sarpsborg 08 FF
2010 1. divisjon Up-arrow-14.png2281666543654Third roundMartin Wiig & Morten GiæverPromoted to the Tippeligaen
2011 Tippeligaen Down-arrow-14.png16305619316521Fourth roundMartin WiigRelegated to the 1. divisjon
2012 1. divisjon Up-arrow-14.png2301965734363Third roundMartin WiigPromoted to the Tippeligaen
2013 Tippeligaen 14308715405831Second roundMartin Wiig & Moi Elyounoussi
2014 Tippeligaen 830101010414840SemifinalBojan Zajic
2015 Tippeligaen 113081012374934Runners-upBojan Zajic
2016 Tippeligaen 6301299353745QuarterfinalPål A. Kirkevold
2017 Eliteserien 33013125503651Runners-upPatrick Mortensen
2018 Eliteserien 83011811463941Third roundPatrick Mortensen Europa League group stage
2019 Eliteserien 123051510304030Third roundKristoffer Zachariassen
2020 Eliteserien 12308814334332CancelledMustafa Abdellaoue


European record

SeasonCompetitionRoundClubHomeAway Agg.
2018–19 UEFA Europa League 1QR Flag of Iceland.svg ÍBV 2−04−06−0
2QR Flag of Switzerland.svg St. Gallen 1−01–22−2 (a)
3QR Flag of Croatia.svg Rijeka 1−11−02−1
PO Flag of Israel.svg Maccabi Tel Aviv 3−11–24−3
Group I Flag of Turkey.svg Beşiktaş 2–31–34th
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Genk 3−10–4
Flag of Sweden.svg Malmö 1–11–1

Current squad

As of 14 February 2021 [8]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

1 GK Flag of Norway.svg  NOR Simen Vidtun Nilsen
2 DF Flag of The Gambia.svg  GAM Sulayman Bojang
3 DF Flag of Norway.svg  NOR Jørgen Horn
4 DF Flag of Norway.svg  NOR Bjørn Inge Utvik
5 DF Flag of Norway.svg  NOR Magnar Ødegaard
6 DF Flag of Norway.svg  NOR Nicolai Næss
7 MF Flag of Norway.svg  NOR Ole Jørgen Halvorsen
8 MF Flag of Norway.svg  NOR Mohamed Ofkir
10 MF Flag of France.svg  FRA Rashad Muhammed
11 MF Flag of Norway.svg  NOR Jonathan Lindseth
14 MF Flag of Iceland.svg  ISL Emil Pálsson
15 MF Flag of Norway.svg  NOR Gaute Høberg Vetti
16 DF Flag of Norway.svg  NOR Joachim Thomassen
17 MF Flag of Norway.svg  NOR Joachim Soltvedt
18 MF Flag of Norway.svg  NOR Sebastian Jarl
19 MF Flag of Senegal.svg  SEN Laurent Jacques Mendy
20 MF Flag of Sweden.svg  SWE Anton Salétros
21 GK Flag of Norway.svg  NOR Anders Kristiansen
22 FW Flag of Norway.svg  NOR Kristian Opseth
23 MF Flag of Norway.svg  NOR Emir Derviskadic
24 DF Flag of Guinea.svg  GUI Mikael Dyrestam
25 FW Flag of Norway.svg  NOR Steffen Lie Skålevik
28 DF Flag of Cote d'Ivoire.svg  CIV Benjamin Karamoko
29 FW Flag of Mali.svg  MLI Ibrahima Koné
30 FW Flag of Norway.svg  NOR Mustafa Abdellaoue
32 DF Flag of Norway.svg  NOR Eirik Wichne
FW Flag of Burkina Faso.svg  BFA Moubarack Compoaré
DF Flag of Lebanon.svg  LBN Felix Michel Melki (on loan from AIK)

For season transfers, see transfers winter 2020–21 and transfers summer 2020.

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

27 FW Flag of Mali.svg  MLI Aboubacar Konté (on loan at Jerv until 2 August 2021)

Notable players

Below are notable players who have represented Sarpsborg 08. To appear in the section below, a player must have either at least two international matches or Champions League matches (group stage or later), 150 official club matches or 30 club goals, including appearances and goals for preceding teams mentioned in pre-existence phase. Players are sorted by birth date.


Sarpsborg 08 FF managers from 2008 to present

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