Rekdal regrets his ‘secret life’

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Kjetil Rekdal, the former Norwegian football star who went on to become a hot-tempered coach, has delivered a rare apology after his secret life as a paid tipster to football betting sites was revealed this week. On Friday he was linked to even more tipping work.

Kjetil Rekdal is known for getting emotional on the playing field. On Wednesday he appeared calm and clean-shaven on NRK, and claimed he just wanted to move forward after being fired as Ålesund's head coach. PHOTO: NRK screen grab/newsinenglish.no

Kjetil Rekdal, now the coach for Vålerenga Football Club in Oslo, was still doing secret betting work when he coached Aalesund until getting fired last year. PHOTO: NRK screen grab/newsinenglish.no

Rekdal’s betting tips under the pseudonyms of “Hroar” and “Dark Elk” have reportedly netted him several hundred thousand kroner during the past few years. He was paid an estimated NOK 550,000 for delivering anonymous tips to the betting firm Betsson, and newspaper Sunnmørsposten reports he also was paid NOK 150,000 for delivering betting tips to Unibet as well.

His secret, paid betting work while also coaching professional football in Norway is believed to have cost him his candidacy to take over as coach of Norway’s national football team (landslaget). The head of the country’s football federation said he was “very disappointed” that Rekdal had secretly worked for the commercial betting sites, because Norwegian athletics organizations have a policy of protecting the country’s own betting and lottery system, Norsk Tipping, which helps support athletics financially. Both Unibet and Betsson are viewed as competitors to Norsk Tipping.

The history of Rekdal’s betting career emerged through legal proceedings on Thursday regarding a disputed player transfer to the Vålerenga club Rekdal now coaches. On Thursday night, after initially refusing to answer questions about his life as a tipster,  Rekdal issued a press release with an apology.

“In hindsight, I see that this (his deal with Betsson) was an agreement that shouldn’t have been made,” Rekdal wrote. “I’m sorry about that, and I should have understood that already in 2010.” He worked for Betsson from 2010 to 2012, while coaching the Aalesund Football Club.

He said that entering into the deal with Betsson was “my own personal decision” and that neither his family nor his advisers knew about it until 2012. He wrote that he provided tips “for various football matches, but I have never given tips about my own club.”

Rekdal said he now only wants to focus on his still-new job as coach for Vålerenga Football, “and Sunday’s match against Lillestrøm.”

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund