It is claimed that Norwegian sports chiefs were aware of the doping crisis for three years
Norwegian Olympic chiefs had been aware of a failure to adhere to World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) regulations surrounding the drug-testing of athletes aged between 15 and 18 for three years, according to claims from local media.
The Norwegian Olympic Committee (NIF) is thought to be concerned about the prospect of potential disciplinary action after it emerged that rules within the country meant that no underage athletes could be drug-tested without first acquiring permission from their parents.
However, a cornerstone of WADA guidelines is that athletes must be subject to unannounced drug tests in order to maintain the integrity of the system.
According to Norwegian publication NRK, the Norwegian Olympic Committee and the Norwegian Anti-Doping Agency (ADNO) began an email correspondence with the country’s Ministry of Culture in May 2019 during which they requested clarification of rules surrounding testing young athletes without parental consent.
NRK added that the Norwegian Anti-Doping Agency sought legal advice and were told that it was possible to obtain umbrella parental consent for random drug-testing, rather than seeking clearance each time a test was to be conducted.
However, they add that the NIF and ADNO did not follow through and implement the recommended measures.
This led to the situation which broke earlier this month in which it was alleged by NRK that not even one underage athlete had received a random drug test – a situation which directly contradicts WADA rules.
Non-compliance with WADA directives can lead to a host of penalties, including being banned from international competition such as the Olympics or Paralympics.
Norway is scheduled to host the Women’s Handball World Championship next year, as well as the men’s iteration of the same competition two years after that.
They have also submitted a joint bid alongside Denmark, Sweden and Finland to hold the European Women’s Championship in 2025.
Anders Solheim, the CEO of Norway’s anti-doping authority previously added that it was an important to implement measures which ensured that underage doping didn’t have an opportunity to fester in Norwegian sport.
“There can’t be young people participating in competitions who can drug themselves as much as they want,” he said.
“We don’t want a sport where you can drug yourself until you are 18 – without taking a test. It provides an opportunity to cheat and gain an unfair advantage.”
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