– In such a serious matter, this is very boring. 55 special associations could make a major effort to change the law. “We’ve lost a lot of weeks trying to get changes in the law,” a clearly disgruntled Tage Pettersen told NRK.
He is the president of the Norwegian Ice Hockey Association and the highest elected leader of one of the 55 specialized associations of Norwegian Sport.
Pettersen is dismayed by the way the Norwegian Sports Confederation (NIF) is handling the ongoing anti-doping crisis, which could in extreme cases result in Norway being expelled from international championships.
He reacted strongly to two things in particular:
– One is through the media that I, as president of one of the special associations of Norway, learned about this challenge, explained Pettersen and followed up:
– The second is that the NIF has clearly been following this information for some time.
The sports board is not aware
According to what NRK learned, the sports board was also not informed of the ongoing situation.
– This is a very serious matter that I think we need to use every day to change the law and should have started the broad process earlier. The downside here is that we lose the opportunity to organize and participate in championships if we don’t, the ice hockey president said.
Sports president Berit Kjøll pointed out that Norwegian Antidoping is responsible for testing athletes in Norway according to the regulations in the Wada code.
– The sports board was notified of the status of the case in the first ordinary board meeting which started today (Tuesday) and ended on 24 August. According to the usual procedure, the organization and the press will be notified of matters discussed at the Sports Council immediately after the board meeting, namely on Thursday morning, Kjøll wrote in an email to NRK on Tuesday evening.
In an earlier version of the case, NRK wrote that Kjøll did not have a chance to answer on Tuesday night, but just before midnight on August 23 the sports president came to the field anyway.
The possible consequences if the authorities, the Norwegian Sports Confederation (NIF) and Norwegian Antidoping (ADNO) do not find a quick solution to a major crisis, including:
- Olympics and Paralympics without the participation of Norway.
- There is no championship on Norwegian soil.
The reason for the crisis is Norway’s special interpretation of the law which means that athletes between the ages of 15 and 18 cannot be tested for doping without their parents’ consent.
This has led to the fact that no one under the legal age has been tested unannounced in the last two years, and therefore Norwegian Anti-doping is not fulfilling its obligations under the international anti-doping code.
This is revealed in a letter that has been obtained by NRK.
Faced with Pettersen’s remarks, Kjøll pointed out that there is an ongoing dialogue between the Norwegian Ministry of Culture, Anti-Doping and sports federations.
– As can be seen from the letter, the Norwegian Sports Confederation Anti-Doping supports Norway’s desire for changes to the law that guarantees access to doping tests by our athletes in accordance with WADA regulations, wrote Kjøll, before he followed up:
– The NIF can of course notify the special federation immediately, but it is natural for the sports council to be notified first of the status of the matter, and then the organization, as is now planned to be carried out directly after the sports council meeting.
– Very sad and regrettable
Sports president Berit Kjøll and Thorhild Widvey, head of Norwegian Anti-doping, are concerned that Norway’s deviation from the international anti-doping code could have major consequences from the turn of 2022/2023.
– I think it’s very sad and regrettable. Someone must have been sleeping in class when we ended up in this situation, and now we only have half a year to fix it, says Pettersen.
Already on Wednesday last week, NRK raised the topic at a press meeting with the national cross-country team, but neither cross-country manager Espen Bjervig nor Sjur national team coach Ole Svarstad could comment.
They had never even heard of the ongoing anti-doping crisis.
Handball president Kåre Geir Lio and soccer president Lise Klaveness were also surprised by NRK’s question:
– This is completely new to me, said the former.
– This is an issue we don’t know about, comments Klaveness.
– Some of us have slept in class
The day after the disclosure of the NRK crisis, the Ice Hockey Association decided to send an administrative investigation to the sports association to get information directly from them.
Pettersen, who is also the parliamentary representative for the Conservative Party, is also considering taking the matter to the Storting.
– I’ll do it if necessary. But first I’m interested in hearing what the NIF has done to the ministry. We will support the process that has begun, warned the president of ice hockey.
An anti-doping crisis has been announced since NRK first mentioned the problem in April 2021. At that time, Norwegian Anti-doping and the Swedish Sports Confederation sounded the alarm in a letter sent to the Ministry of Children and Families, but little happened. since.
Now Pettersen admits that he, and his fellow presidential in Norwegian sport, may well have fallen short in their follow-up.
– Should you react to the expected crisis ahead of time?
– Yes, I probably should. This is important after all. That we comply with the rules is the responsibility of ADNO and NIF, but it must be followed up, I am the ice hockey president.
– There may be more of us sleeping in class, but the job could be done better, concludes Pettersen.
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