Johan Kaggestad is unimpressed that Sports President, Berit Kjøll chose not to comment on the comprehensive report with serious accusations directed at Anders Besseberg on Thursday.
– I think it’s cowardly because I think Norwegian sports leaders should stand up and say that: “Here is documentation, here it is a thoroughly worked-out report that is strong in its conclusion.” Then it is timely for Norwegian sports leaders to come forward and say that we want that type of leadership in Norwegian top sports. I was expecting that. I am disappointed that it has not happened, Kaggestad writes in a comment.
– It’s a bit like an ostrich. We are very concerned about preserving the reputation of the sport and then you stick your head in the sand and hope that it passes. I call it the worst leadership scandal in Norwegian sports ever, he follows up.
A stick sticks its head in the sand
TV 2 has repeatedly tried to get a comment from the Sports President, Berit Kjøll after the report became known. The Norwegian Sports Confederation itself published a press release in which they emphasized that they did not want to comment on the case until it had been investigated. When TV 2 presented her with the criticism from Johan Kaggestad on Saturday, she still wanted to ask.
This is how Kjøll responds to the criticism:
– I still have the benefit of being accused of being both ostrich and coward. So I can only relate to the fact that someone wants to say it, says Berit Kjøll to TV 2 on Sunday.
– My role is to be clear and distance myself from the type of accusations that emerged in this report. But I wanted to get acquainted with the report before I came on the field and commented. That was the answer given to you when the report came out on Thursday.
In NIF’s press release on Thursday, it was stated that they did not want to comment on the case until it had been investigated.
– It went on the corruption piece. It did not address the allegations made in the report. We received an inquiry on Thursday. I wanted to familiarize myself with the report’s main allegations. We have done that.
– Norwegians are no better than others
On Thursday, a 220-page investigation report was published by an independent commission of inquiry.
For two years, they have been investigating allegations of doping fraud and corruption in the international federation. The findings are devastating for former biathlon president, Anders Besseberg.
The report shows, among other things, that Besseberg is said to have protected Russian interests, he is said to have prevented a doping investigation and the Russians are said to have bought support with prostitutes and exclusive hunting trips. Among other things, he is said to have received a watch worth 200,000 kroner as a personal gift. He is said to have prevented the investigation of a syringe for blood doping that was found at a World Cup conference in 2015 in addition to several other serious matters.
– You were very early on the ball when you saw the collective doping of the Russians, but when it is suddenly one of our own who has abused his position to a very high degree, then we are very reluctant. Norwegians are no better than others. I am sorry to say that, writes Kaggestad.
Investigated by ecocrime
The corruption allegations have for a long time been investigated by ecocrime in Norway and Switzerland. But in addition to the corruption allegations, the report has found several serious ethical violations of sports regulations.
– What is revealed in the report is how one has operated. These are things we strongly dissociate ourselves from. I will not judge anyone, but we must get the conclusion in the investigation that will take place, says Kjøll.
Kvalevåg resigns as general secretary of the Norwegian Sports Confederation
The report was announced on Thursday and is described by many as one of the biggest scandals in the history of Norwegian sports.
– We see that there have been a lot of the same conditions in other international federations as well. It is very unfortunate that a Norwegian has been at the helm of the International Biathlon Federation. But I must emphasize that no verdict has been handed down in the case. So now ecocrime and the IBU must take the report and follow this in relation to the regulations they have. Then you will land on some conclusions that we here at home must relate to, says Kjøll.
– I have asked for a legal report which we will present on Tuesday. In relation to whether there are things in the accusations in the report that we are already going to take some initiative against. We must discuss this further with the sports board. We have the sports judging committee which is an excellent body. Here, the legal report must give us advice in relation to what and whether we should raise this at the present time, or after a judgment has been handed down in the case.