The Norwegian Ski Federation (NSF) required the sponsor to stay with them, even though new Norwegian doping cases would occur with up to two years of punishment. There is a lack of respect for anti-doping efforts inside NSF and their big sponsor ASKO/Norgesgruppen

Norgesgruppen has been NSF’s sponsor for a few years, and they have now agreed to continue with a new sponsorcontract. Norgesgruppen is the largest grocery chains owner in Norway, with among others the european SPAR food and ASKO (their distributor of food) as the most profield brands through NSF. ASKO has personal sponsor agreements with Therese Johaug, Marit Bjørgen (xc-skiiers) and Birgit Skarstein (handicap xc-skiier and swimmer)


Photo: From left the three ASKO ambassadors; Therese Johaug, Birgit Skarstein and Marit Bjørgen. All World Champions.

The Ski Federation’s negotiations with two grocery chains

Unfortunately, it is necessary to go one more round with the Norwegian Ski leaders lack of respect, for the international anti-doping rules the whole world must relate to.

It is unfortunately not possible to interpret the stance of the Norwegian Ski Federation (NSF) in the negotiations with Coop (one of Norway’s largest grocery chains, and building and electro equipments), as evidenced by documents VG has gained access to. Coop is the World Champion xc-skiier Petter Northug jr’s personal sponsor.


Photo: Petter Northug jr. has had a sponsorship with Coop for three years now, in the period he has chosen to stand outside theNorwegian national xc-skiing team.

Therefore it is controversy about what would happen to the agreement in a case of a new possible Norwegian doping case in the future.

While Coop claimed to have the right to withdraw from the contract if a Norwegian skier was taken for doping, the Norwegian Ski Federation (NSF) would have entered a point that denied Coop to do so, if the “skiiers verdict was not enforceable or by no blame or negligible fault“.

The latter, “negligible fault”, has a maximum penalty of 24 months exclusion/ban.

What would it actually have caused?

A proposal for such an agreement clause is all reason to stop properly, for what would it actually have caused?

For example, doping cases with a fact comparable to what we saw in the Therese Johaug  doping case or Martin Johnsrud Sundby’s doping case, would not have had any financial impact on the relationship between the Norwegian Ski Federation and the Sponsor.

How is it possible for divorced to come up with such a requirement?

And what does it say about faith in its own routines?

Probably, it all depends on the trivial attitude of the Norwegian affairs, as we have seen over and over again.

Certain truths have certainly been very difficult to sink in.

It is still the case that “doping” also includes cases where there has been no intention, while the punishment is there to distinguish between different types of things.

For example, Therese Johaug would have got 30 months more in exclusion than she ended up with if the court thought she got the anabolic steroid on purpose.
Obviously, there is an ethical difference between cases where it is cheated consciously and when this is not the case. But it is still about doping and there is actually blame, even in the lowest measurement category.
Here is actually Johaug’s case a pretty typical thing: An athlete has blindly blamed another person, instead of fulfilling the independent duty of investigation, it involves being a top athlete, who is in charge of his own body.

In theory, such a clause as the NSF would have in their sponsor contracts also been a potential for even more mess at system level, which was clearly revealed in the wake of the Sundby and Johaug dopingcases.

As the routines are going to be better now at NSF, it becomes even more absurd that the Norgewian Ski Federation have proposing this idea in the contract.

In the negotiations with Coop, the food giant ended up with standing on their claim, which was justified by the fact that “it would never be appropriate to accept the tanning of the doping limits, thus contributing to moving culture and attitudes in a direction that is neither healthy or sustainable for sports ».

Thus, the contested clause was not included in the final draft between Coop and NSF, which the NSF resigned from at the last minute.

The Doping clause in the Norwegian Ski Federationd sponsor contracts.

Then the NSF got a agreement with Norgesgruppen where the NSF clause, which denied Norgesgruppen to withdraw from the contract, if the “skiiers verdict was not enforceable or by no blame or negligible fault“.

We can make a clear answer after this, that the management of Norwegian skiing is still struggling to take the WADA code seriously.

The doping ban skistars revealed insignificant guilt.

But as regards the lack of respect for the dopingrules that apply, is the Norwegian skileaders  fault of the significant variety.


Source:, Leif Welhaven (sport editor at VG), Anti-Doping World,

The original article was written by Leif Welhaven.