Match-fixing scandal rocks Norway

Norway’s football association (NFF) reported match-fixing allegations to the police on Monday amid suspicions that players have teamed with organized criminals to rig results for betting reasons.

Match-fixing scandal rocks Norway
NFF president Yngve Hallén, secretary general Kjetil Siem, and communications director Svein Graff atttend a press conference in Oslo on Sunday (Photo: Marianne Løvland/Scanpix)

NFF axed a second-division game between Ullensaker/Kisa and Ham Kam on Sunday over fears of outside interference aimed at fixing the result.

Third-tier team Follo also reported suspicions of match-rigging to NFF after a second-half collapse in its game against Østsiden saw the team shed a 3-0 lead in a match that ended 4-3 to the opposition.

Large bets were made on the game shortly before kickoff on June 24th.

Police are also expected to investigate a match played the same day between Asker and Frigg after Asker reported its 7-1 defeat as suspicious.

“NFF and the clubs want to assist the police to the best of our ability, which also means we are unable to comment on specifics relating to the case in light of the investigation,” said NFF president Yngve Hallén in a statement on Sunday.  

Speaking to newspaper Verdens Gang, NFF confirmed it had received information that the alleged match-fixing scheme was organized by mafia groups in Sweden with ties to the Balkan region.

“That information could be true or false,” said NFF secretary general Kjetil Siem.

The newspaper said a number of other centrally placed sources also claimed Sweden-based organized crime groups had approached players in Norway in an attempt to fix matches.

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Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland

Norway, which has suspended the use of AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine until further notice, will send 216,000 doses to Sweden and Iceland at their request, the Norwegian health ministry said Thursday.

Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland
Empty vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

“I’m happy that the vaccines we have in stock can be put to use even if the AstraZeneca vaccine has been paused in Norway,” Health Minister Bent Høie said in a statement.

The 216,000 doses, which are currently stored in Norwegian fridges, have to be used before their expiry dates in June and July.

Sweden will receive 200,000 shots and Iceland 16,000 under the expectation they will return the favour at some point. 

“If we do resume the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, we will get the doses back as soon as we ask,” Høie said.

Like neighbouring Denmark, Norway suspended the use of the AstraZeneca jab on March 11 in order to examine rare but potentially severe side effects, including blood clots.

Among the 134,000 AstraZeneca shots administered in Norway before the suspension, five cases of severe thrombosis, including three fatal ones, had been registered among relatively young people in otherwise good health. One other person died of a brain haemorrhage.

On April 15, Norway’s government ignored a recommendation from the Institute of Public Health to drop the AstraZeneca jab for good, saying it wanted more time to decide.

READ MORE: Norway delays final decision on withdrawal of AstraZeneca vaccine 

The government has therefore set up a committee of Norwegian and international experts tasked with studying all of the risks linked to the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which is also suspected of causing blood clots.

Both are both based on adenovirus vector technology. Denmark is the only European country to have dropped the AstraZeneca
vaccine from its vaccination campaign, and said on Tuesday it would “lend” 55,000 doses to the neighbouring German state of Schleswig-Holstein.