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There is no sign of a solution between Klæbo and the Norwegian Ski Association

Johannes Høsflot Klæbo refuses to sign an agreement with the Norwegian Ski Association. The involved parties are still far apart from an understanding.

Photo: Maxim Thore/Bildbyrån

Johannes Høsflot Klæbo (NOR)

Johannes Høsflot Klæbo, who broke with the Norwegian national team ahead of the current season, and several athletes on the national alpine team are still without a contract with the Norwegian Ski Association for the coming season. 

Such a contract, or representation agreement, is necessary for the athletes to be selected for World Cup races starting November 24. 

The conflict between the athletes and the Norwegian Ski Association has been ongoing for a long time. Klæbo threatened to break with the national team as early as last year. For several of the alpine skiers, the conflict goes back even further. 

Last fall, the athletes on the national alpine team and Klæbo hired lawyer Pål Kleven to help them negotiate with the Norwegian Ski Association. 

Lack of respect

Klæbo and the Ski Association disagree on several points. But like the alpinists, Klæbo and the Ski Association dispute who owns the athletes’ marketing rights, specifically the rights to images. 

Lawyer Kleven says that the athletes he represents also feel disrespected and ignored.

According to VG, Kleven has met with the Norwegian Ski Association, in which president Tove Moe Dyrhaug also participated. In a letter to which VG has gained access, Kleven says that the minutes from this meeting were completely different from what he perceived during the meeting itself. 

It states that there is now an agreement, which, according to Kleven, is “in direct contradiction to what the parties discussed and concluded in the meeting on September 8.” 

The athletes are clear that they are the owners of their market rights, and lawyer Kleven says the Norwegian Ski Association has acknowledged this in an email to its legal committee. But the minutes from the meeting, which Kleven attended, say something completely different. 

“It is, therefore, completely strange that this is addressed as an issue,” says the letter from the athletes’ lawyer to the Norwegian Ski Association (NSF) board.

“It is very unfortunate that NSF presents an agreement that is not correct, and the ‘minutes’ should in any case have been sent to me in advance for any comments,” says Kleven.

At the end of the letter, the lawyer concludes that it is out of the question for the athletes to sign the contract they have been offered. 

Depending on an agreement to compete in the World Cup

A contract with the Norwegian national team is a prerequisite for Klæbo to be selected for World Cup races. In principle, athletes cannot compete in the World Cup if they have turned down a place on the national team.

But even if he doesn’t get a contract, Klæbo is confident that he will still be able to compete in international ski races this winter. 

Read More: Klæbo reveals alternative plan

“The athletes find this very unfortunate and regrettable, but the alternative – which is to accept an agreement that is contrary to NSF’s legal committee – is out of the question,” Kleven writes.

This matter was initially supposed to be discussed at the Ski Board meeting on Tuesday. But now the Association’s legal committee has proposed postponing this until the end of next week.

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