Kristoffersen’s absence exposes rift in Norwegian team
Henrik Kristoffersen’s ongoing disagreement with the Norwegian Ski Federation over the terms of his personal sponsorships and national team agreement has now entered its second year. Despite reaching an agreement with the federation prior to last season’s World Cup opener in Soelden, Austria, surrounding his personal sponsorship with Red Bull, Kristoffersen’s relationship remained strained with the federation throughout the season. A few members of the Norwegian Alpine Committee’s leadership have resigned in the aftermath.
Now, Norwegian broadcaster NRK reports that Kristoffersen is the only Norwegian athlete yet to sign their 2017-18 national team agreement and has been banned from participating in team workouts and other events until the issue has been resolved.
So far this spring, Kristoffersen has been training on his own in Oslo.
The federation insists that this latest issue does not directly relate to last season’s widely reported sponsorship conflict where the federation would not allow Kristoffersen to wear the Red Bull logo on his headgear at competitions, media events, and team functions, but stems from other issues between Kristoffersen and the federation.
According to NRK sources, it is believed that Kristoffersen breached disciplinary and sponsorship rules repeatedly last season and was disciplined by the federation for doing so. Additionally, this ongoing saga has reportedly strained relations between Kristofferson and his teammates to a point where some athletes have expressed concerns about his inclusion on the team at all.
Kristoffersen, his father and manager, Lars, and the federation have all been tight-lipped so far on the specifics of this latest chapter, and all other Norwegian athletes have been asked to not comment on the matter.
If Kristoffersen and the federation fail to come to an agreement on his status with the national team before the season starts, separate arrangements will have to be made that will allow Kristoffersen to receive his Norwegian skiing license which would make him eligible to compete in World Cups and the upcoming 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Kristoffersen’s separate court case with the federation regarding his Red Bull contract is set to be heard in Norwegian high court later this year after being defeated in district court last December.