Norway to contact UEFA over match fixing probe

Norway's football federation is set to approach UEFA over suspicions that the Europa League game between Aalesund and Albanian side Tirana was fixed following revelations of unusual betting patterns.

Tirana is suspected of having deliberately lost the third preliminary round on July 26th 5-0, after the national lottery Norsk Tipping alerted the federation about unusual betting patterns, particularly from Asia, during the match.

Norsk Tipping spokesman Einar Busterud told AFP that suspicions were raised because the chances of a team winning 5-0 were low but there were such large numbers of bets on the result that the odds fell.

According to the federation and Norsk Tipping, which organises betting on football matches, Aalesund was not suspected of wrong-doing.

Questioned by the Verdens Gang newspaper, Tirana official Salih Dagani rejected allegations of match-fixing, instead blaming the result on the disadvantage of playing on artificial turf, lack of food and empty minibars in the team hotel.

On July 27th, Norwegian police said they had arrested an official bookmaker as part of an investigation into alleged match-fixing involving two local third division games in which four footballers have already been implicated.

The person's identity was not revealed but they are an employee of Norsk Tipping, the Norwegian lottery which organises betting on football matches.

According to local media, large sums of money were bet in a short period of time in six Norsk Tipping agencies in Oslo on two third division games played on June 24th.

Police are focusing on a match which Follo lost 4-3 at Oestsiden, despite leading 3-1 with 20 minutes to go. Three of the arrests were players from Follo and a fourth a player from Asker, who were beaten 7-1 by Frigg Oslo the same day.

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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.