Football boss fends off bribery claim

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The president of Norway’s football federation, Yngve Hallén, was vigorously denying corruption claims on Friday. The claims are made in a new book about alleged cheating and “piracy” within Norwegian football, written by former football agent Knut Høibraaten.

NOT SMILING NOW: Yngve Hallén vigorously denies claims in a new book that he's engaged in corruption, and is threatening legal action against the book's author. PHOTO: Wikipedia

NOT SMILING NOW: Yngve Hallén vigorously denies claims in a new book that he’s engaged in corruption, and is threatening legal action against the book’s author. PHOTO: Wikipedia

Newspaper VG reported that Høibraaten, now promoting his new book entitled Fotball-agenten (The Football Agent), wrote that Hallén and other leaders of the Sogndal football club wanted under-the-table payments in connection with the transfer of a player from Poland to Sogndal just before the 2008 season began. Hallén led Sogndal before he became president of the national football federation in Norway (NFF) in 2010.

Høibraaten told VG he has a reliable source for the information and that it’s been confirmed in writing. His book is being published by Kagge Forlag.

Hallén strongly denies he accepted any bribes or other payments in connection with the transfer of Piotr Leciejewski, now the goalkeeper for football club Brann in Bergen. Hallén told VG that he will initiate legal action against Høibraaten if the the book is published.

“I am not corrupt,” Hallén told VG. “It’s intolerable for me to have these things hanging over me in the position I hold. These are direct charges of corruption that have no basis in reality.”

VG reported that Høibraaten’s source was the Polish FIFA agent Marcin Hakman, and the alleged written confirmation is an email exchange between Hallén and Hakman. Hakman allegedly told Høibraaten that both Hallén and a Sogndal sports director were to be paid EUR 5,000 but VG reported that Hakman says there’s been a misunderstanding and it’s unclear whether any money was actually paid out.

Høibraaten stands by his book, saying it’s “based on my stories” that reportedly reveal other cases of cheating and short-cuts taken by agents in Norwegian football. His publisher at Kagge Forlag was supporting Høibraaten and the book Friday morning.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund