The bill for the Ski Federation in the Johaug case is revealed
The Norwegian Ski Federation (NSF) has received the final bill for Therese Johaug’s doping case. It’s not peanuts, writes VG
The total cost for the Norwegian Ski Federation in the Johaug case is at just shy of NOK 3.5 million.
That is for legal assistance and litigation costs for both the hearing of the Norwegian Sports Federation (NIF) judicial committee more than a year ago and in connection with the appeal case in CAS (the Sports Tribunal) last summer, Espen Bjervig tells VG.
– That is a lot of money, Espen Bjervig admits. Bjervig is the manager of the cross-country section in the Norwegian Ski Federation.
In comparison, Martin Johnsrud Sundby’s doping case, where NSF compensated the Røa athlete with more than a million in lost prize money, totaled NOK 3.3 million. The Johaug case is thus more expensive.
Defends the use of money
Bjervig and NSF maintains what they have said throughout: That they think it has been and still is important to assist and make sure that any athlete, including Therese Johaug, gets the most thorough review of their case that is possible
Nor was it ever a topic not to support Johaug until her case was finalized in CAS (the Sports Tribunal) this summer. – It is an important principal decision made by the cross-country committee, Bjervig says.
Naturally assuming that NSF does not think it is a case of deliberate doping.
– And, of course, when the case becomes complex, prolonged and ended up in CAS, the costs will become higher and higher. But we have had an attitude that this is not something that should rely on whether the athlete has a sound economy or not. In a case like this, where there is no deliberate doping involved, we will ensure that the athlete will get the trial they are entitled to, says Bjervig.
Had to prepare anew
He says that roughly half the amount of NOK 3.5 million has gone to lawyer and case costs in connection with the hearing in the NIF’s judicial committee almost a year ago. Johaug was then sentenced to 13 months of exclusion.
The case was appealed by the FIS (International Ski Federation). The other half of the bill in the Johaug case is linked to the appeal before CAS last spring.
In addition to Johaug’s lawyers team from Norway, another three lawyers were employed to assist the cross-country star. The end to the case in the arbitration tribunal was 18 months of exclusion, as many are aware of. The Winter Olympics, which are less than a month away, will therefore not see Johaug compete.
– One day in CAS costs just shy of NOK two million, if you view it that way. Do you understand that it may sound weird that NSF pays for that?
– There is a lot of work and many hours behind the actual day spent in court. When there is an appeal, the whole case must be prepared anew. It’s not the day in court that costs, the investigations and preparations up front does.
Hopes people understand
– Therese Johaug has millions in wealth and income, how do you defend the money spent before the grass root of the Norwegian cross country community who ultimately pays the bill?
– That is a dilemma, but we have chosen to adopt the stance that we do not look at whether they need monetary support or not to get a fair trial. It is not everyone who has the economy to follow through. By doing this we say that there are possibilities for others as well.
– What kind of reactions do you think you will get for picking up Johaug’s bill?
– The reaction is probably that it is talk of a lot of money. We hope that there is an understanding to our point of entry, to ensure the athlete’s legal rights, Bjervig says
He admits that the Norwegian cross country is lucky after building up a solid financial foundation after a number of successful years. The Norwegian Ski Federation has an equity from which the bill will be paid. Bjervig assures that it will not affect sports budgets, children and breadth, or facilities and recruitment.
The ski boss says that it is up to the cross-country committee, the topmost body of the Norwegian cross-country community, whether to rebuild the equity or to operate as it does at present.
– The Sundby case cost NOK 3.3 million. Together with the Johaug case the total is almost seven million. How does it appear to people on the outside that you pick up the complete bill, according to you?
– It is perfectly natural to question this. These are large amounts that could have been used differently, but we still believe it is essential that we ensure that athletes get a fair trial and that we take care of their legal rights in cases where there is no deliberate doping involved.
The Norwegian Sports Federation (NIF) has also contributed. Communications Manager in NIF, Niels Røine, tells VG that the federation shared the administrative expenses to CAS with Johaug. Additionally, NIF has paid roughly NOK 200,000 in connection with the hearing in NIF’s judicial committee.
VG has contact with Johaug’s manager, Jørn Ernst. He says that the team has no further comments on the matter except what NSF has already provided.
© VG / Norway Today