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Klæbo breaks the silence

Johannes Høsflot Klæbo explains why negotiations with the Norwegian Ski Association have failed until now.

Photo: Manzoni/NordicFocus

Johannes Høsflot Klæbo (NOR)

Johannes Høsflot Klæbo and his manager-father, Håkon Klæbo, now reveal the reasons why they have still not been able to agree on a representation agreement for the coming season. 

As long as Klæbo does not agree with the Norwegian Ski Association, he cannot compete in World Cup races. No contract, no World Cup.

Klæbo has been at odds with the Norwegian Ski Association since he broke with the national team in April, the day before the team presentation for the 2023/2024 season.

Also Read: Klaebo out of the Norwegian national team

The point on which the agreement seems to be stalled now is about nine days that Klæbo is asking for time off from the national team. 

“The Norwegian Ski Association owns the ‘playground’ in the World Cup through FIS. They have the right to choose who is allowed to play. We understand that they have their own rules to follow. For me, it’s a bit incomprehensible that we can’t agree on the number of days we’re talking about not representing the national team,” says manager-father Håkon Klæbo to VG.

“We had a meeting last Thursday. There are good meetings, but the latest is that we have proposed that Johannes is in the national team with two periods off,” he says.

The Norwegian Ski Association has reportedly agreed to exempt Klæbo from the national team in the period around the Norwegian Championships (which take place in February). In addition, Klæbo wants eight or nine days off after the Tour de Ski in January. 

Informed the Norwegian Ski Federation on Wednesday morning 

“I can say that we had a meeting on Thursday. The tone was good, actually. But there are still some clarifications to be made before we land this. I sincerely believe and aim that we can achieve this. We have an approach to the agreement that we make. They have a different view, and so we must manage to get closer. That’s my comment, and once we have something to announce, we’ll communicate it,” says Torbjørn Skogstad, chairman of the cross-country skiing committee, to VG.

Klæbo and the Norwegian Ski Association have reportedly agreed not to comment on details of the negotiations until an agreement has been reached. But now Klæbo has had enough and is breaking his silence.  

“I sent a message to Skogstad and Bjervig this morning that the agreement we had to keep it to ourselves is no longer possible. So, they’ve been informed of that,” says Haakon Klæbo.

Later on the day, the Norwegian Ski Association commented.

The head of cross-country skiing, Espen Bjervig, said to VG that Klæbo has been offered an agreement that is the best of its kind ever. Among other details, the 26-year-old is allowed to have one private sponsor’s logo on his clothes, as well as being part of the Ski Association from the start of the season until the National Championships and then rejoining from the National Championships and the end of the season.

“We already offered this in June. This is what he has refused because he wants further free periods,” says Bjervig and adds:

“This makes it difficult for me. Why should I reward a skier who has chosen to decline the fellowship? Why should that athlete get greater rights throughout the season than those who are part of the community and help to build it up throughout the year?”

Willing to sacrifice the World Cup

Klæbo has said several times that he would like to compete in World Cup races this season and expects to ski this winter, but his main goal is the 2025 World Championships on home soil. 

“It’s not a super-must for me to go to the World Cup. I want to, but it’s not important for what will happen in 2025 (the World Championships in Trondheim),” Klæbo tells VG.

The 26-year-old has repeatedly stated that he was willing to sacrifice the World Cup rather than agree to the terms of the contract proposal from the Norwegian Ski Association. He has also criticized the association on several occasions. And it is first and foremost about values. 

Read more – Klæbo’s candid insights: Podcast reveals athlete’s determination and concerns

The World Cup starts in Ruka, Finland, on November 24. 

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