About a month and a half after the Norwegian ski federation said it was effectively done with Petter Northug Jr., both sides have come to agreement and, you guessed it, Northug is back on the national team.
“This agreement gives me the sporting freedom I need to win more ski races and take more gold for Norway,” Northug said in a press release earlier this week. “My goal is to go ski fast for Norway on World Cup this coming winter and in the major championships that will follow.”
Northug’s three-year contract with the Norwegian national team was announced Sunday, and effectively outlines the same terms of his agreement with the team last year. The stumbling point since this spring has been that Coop, Northug’s main sponsor, wanted the 13-time world champion and two-time individual Olympic champ to wear its logo year-round.
When it comes to uniforms and private sponsorships, the Norwegian team does not make exceptions for any of its athletes, and it argued that it would not bend to Northug.
While the federation didn’t cave, it kept the communications lines with Northug open longer than it initially planned. Negotiations remained on the table, and ultimately, the team secured a contract with the 29 year old starting this season and lasting through the 2018 Olympics. Per the agreement, he will be allowed to wear all things Coop from early spring until the season starts in late November, for the next three years.
But all the loose ends aren’t necessarily tied up.
Northug and the national team have different clothing suppliers, and the federation reportedly wants him in the team’s sponsor — Bjørn Dæhlie — rather than Swix, his personal supplier.
“He’ll have to give up his deal with Swix,” Stein Opsal, the federation’s secretary general, told Adressa. “That was an important point in going from a one-year to a three-year agreement.”
According to NewsInEnglish.no, Northug’s manager, Are Sørum Langås, interpreted it differently, saying that Northug should be able to wear Swix outside the race season.
“That’s what the agreement says,” Langås told Adressa. “We will abide by the agreement.”