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Klæbo signed and ready for the World Cup – but now, hit by Covid

Johannes Høsflot Klæbo has reached an agreement with the Norwegian Ski Association. This means that the cross-country skiing star is ready for the World Cup. At the same time, the 27-year-old reports that he has tested positive for Covid.

Photo: Jesper Zerman/Bildbyrån

Johannes Høsflot Klæbo (NOR)

The Norwegian Ski Association has given up on new negotiations with Johannes Høsflot Klæbo: The ski star gets a standard representation agreement with the national team. This means that Klæbo can now compete in World Cup races next season. 

The Norwegian Ski Association confirmed this to NRK on Tuesday morning.

“This is a defeat for the Norwegian Ski Association. This is not the situation they planned to be in at all,” says NRK’s sports commentator Jan Petter Saltvedt.

Why is the deal controversial?

Klæbo broke with the national team in April, one day before the 2023/2024 national team presentation. In principle, that means that Klæbo cannot represent the national team in World Cup races or championships.

According to the rules of the Norwegian Ski Association, an athlete who has not been accepted to be on the national team cannot be selected for World Cup races. It states that “Skiers who have declined an offer to participate in NSF’s national team shall not be selected by NSF to represent NSF in competitions in the season in which the offer of a place on the national team applies unless there are special circumstances.” 

The rule was up for discussion in the Ski Board this spring after the Cross-Country Committee wanted to remove it, but it decided to keep it. Shortly afterward, Ski President Tove Moe Dyrhaug promised that Klæbo would still be allowed to compete in the World Cup. 

This is what happened

On October 13, Klæbo announced in a press release that they had accepted the Norwegian Ski Association’s offer and that Klæbo agreed to drop a private logo on the national team jersey.

Also Read: Klæbo surrenders to the Norwegian Ski Association

A few hours later, cross-country skiing manager Espen Bjervig went public and said he was happy they had finally reached an agreement. According to Bjervig, there was just one small detail that needed to be included. On October 15, however, Bjervig did a complete turnaround. The cross-country skiing manager said that they wanted new negotiations with Klæbo and that they had not agreed on an agreement.

On October 16, Klæbo traveled to an altitude training camp without signing a representation agreement, but Klæbo and his team said they accepted the offer they received on Friday, October 13. They consider themselves done with the case and are not interested in new negotiations with the Norwegian Ski Association. 

Cross-country skiing manager Espen Bjervig tells NRK that they have been in contact with Klæbo while he has been on an altitude camp in Italy. 

“Yes, we have talked. But it’s like I said, Johannes wants to go for a standard agreement and the conditions that are in it. We have to respect that,” says Bjervig.

This is the agreement

A standard representation agreement was what Klæbo and his team wanted ever since Klæbo broke with the national team in April. Still, the Norwegian Ski Association would not agree to it.

A representation agreement means that Klæbo represents the Norwegian Ski Association and the national team’s sponsors when he is out racing with the national team but is free to do as he pleases between races.

According to Klæbo’s press contact, Lasse Gimnes, this is the same type of agreement that Kristine Stavås Skistad, who also turned down a place on the national team in April, has received. The condition for Klæbo to get this is that he drops the logo of his private sponsor on his national team jersey. 

Uncertain about the start of the season

At the same time, the 27-year-old reports that he has tested positive for Covid. It is, therefore, uncertain whether Klæbo will compete in the World Cup opener in Ruka on the last weekend of November. 

The article is being updated.

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