Just a day after Norway’s ruling Conservative Party killed off plans to host a Winter Olympics last week, it dealt another blow to sports bureaucrats. The Conservative-led government is moving forward with plans to remove a ban on professional boxing and liberalize gambling, despite the protests of the national athletics federation Idrettsforbundet.
The federation has proclaimed that “health is one of its fundamental values” that “commercial and entertainment considerations must give way for ethics and health.” The federation doesn’t support pro-boxing, but now the government has sent its proposal to allow boxing regulated by the “knock-out law” that applies to other martial arts.
The government is also proposing an end to a state monopoly on gambling that sends most proceeds to athletics organizations. Both proposals are in line with the government’s goal of more liberal policies and against monopoly. Norway’s world champion boxer Cecilia Brækhus is thrilled at the prospect of finally be able to box on home turf.
Børre Rognlien, embattled president of the athletics organization, told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) he’d take “one round at a time” and look to “the judge in the ring” – the majority in Parliament that the government will need to pass both issues.