Football scandal hits clubs Stabæk and Vålerenga

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Two top Norwegian football (soccer) clubs and three of their leaders are suspected of fraud in connection with the highly controversial sale of player Veigar Páll Gunnarsson from Stabæk to Vålerenga for NOK 1 million. The clubs face large fines, while the men involved may be excluded from all football for a year or more.

Norwegian media have dubbed the case a “scandal” after TV2 first reported the sale and that Vålerenga had also secured an option for Stavæk’s 16-year-old budding player Herman Stengel for NOK 4 million. An independent commission investigating the deal suspects fraud, because Stabæk is obligated to pay French club Nancy 50 percent of a transfer sum for Gunnarsson. If the Stengel option is linked to Gunnarsson’s sale, Stabæk can be accused of cheating Nancy out of NOK 2 million.

“This is very serious for Norwegian football,” Gunnar-Martin Kjenner, a lawyer and football agent who’s an expert on athletic law, told newspaper Aftenposten. He thinks the police should be called in to investigate further.

The commission (Påtalenemnda), made up of three persons named by the board of Norway’s football association NFF, is suggesting heavy fines be levied by another commission in charge of sanctions and convictions within sports.

One of the men involved, Stabæk chairman Erik Loe, was also a candidate to be president of NFF, but told Aftenposten that “I’m finished in NFF.” He’s also stepping aside from his post at Stabæk until the commission’s decision is handed down. The other men charged are Stabæk’s sports director Inge André Olsen and Vålerenga’s sports director Truls Haakonsen.

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