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Special request from Calle Halfvarsson

The national team veteran Calle Halfvarsson made a demand to agree to a new contract with the Swedish national team, and it was not about money.

Photo: Modica/NordicFocus

Calle Halfvarsson (SWE).

Calle Halfvarsson is one of 15 cross-country skiers named to the Swedish A national team for next season. But negotiations were taking place behind the scenes: the 34-year-old gave the Swedish Ski Association an ultimatum to continue with the national team. 

“Yes, I had one specific requirement,” confirms Halfvarsson. 

The national team veteran plans to continue his career at least until the World Championships at home in Falun in 2027.

Read More: Swedish cross-country skiing teams for the season 2023/2024

Drama 

In the run-up to last year’s season, the negotiations with the national team were lengthy, partly because everything had to be done as a group. Many were dissatisfied with the Swedish Ski Association’s financial support offered its skiers on the A Team. 

“There were a lot of talks then that everyone should sign the contract at the same time, that no one should do it before others, but then someone did anyway, and then everything unraveled.” 

This year it went much faster, and there was far less drama surrounding the negotiations. Most agreed to the contract terms, which pay SEK 225.000 (about 20.000 euros) in athlete stipends. Halfvarsson still believes it is not too much, but the money was not his request. 

“I couldn’t bear to manage it alone this year. So I signed, but only after I had agreed on one requirement,” says Halfvarsson to Expressen

What was your request?  

“That I would be allowed to stay alone when we are out.” 

And you got approval for that?  

“Yes. It seemed that (national team manager Anders) Byström understood me. He didn’t think it was strange. But, of course, it costs a bit more,” says Halfvarsson. 

For Halfvarsson, the requirement concerns, among other things, the fear of illness. 

“It is very good to sleep alone, especially when the sickness starts to occur in the squad. Besides, I struggle to sleep when someone is lying down and making a lot of noise at night,” he says. 

What is more important: good sleeping or less risk of illness?  

“For me, it is a mix of several things. When I want to be by myself, I want to have a room to be able to retreat to and not have to pay attention to my roommates’ schedule,” says Calle Halfvarsson, and continues: 

“The times I have had my own room at camps, everything has been much better. And now that I have a family, it becomes even more important. You want to Facetime with those at home but may be forced to do it in the toilet if you have a roommate.”

The article continues below.

Calle Halfvarsson led Team Sweden at the World Championships relay in Planica. Photo: Petter Arvidson/BILDBYRÅN

Receives special treatment

Byström confirms that he fulfilled the requirement of the 34-year-old. 

“That is something we should discuss together in the team first, but yes. That’s right,” he says, explaining why Halfvarsson gets special treatment. 

“He has a small child at home. So, Calle wants to have a little more peace when he’s out traveling.” 

At the same time, Byström hopes that not all the other skiers come with the same demands. 

“I hope that they understand that the mentor in the team, Calle, is a father now. After all, no one else in the group is a parent, so they should understand that.” 

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