The standoff between the Sweden’s best skier and the Swedish Ski Federation over bonuses for the last season seems to continue.
It also lifts the veil of relative secrecy over rarely discussed system of remuneration in cross skiing at the elite level.
It is revealed that the Swedish Ski Federation promised its athletes SEK 150.000 bonus for gold, 60.000 for silver and 30.000 for bronze at the World Championships in Lahti.
Charlotta Kalla won silver in 10km race and came 3d in 15 km skiathlon – as well as being instrumental in winning the silver for Team Sweden in 4 X 5 relay in Lahti this year. That should have made her entitled to SEK 105.000 ( circa EUR 11.000) in bonus money.
Except that the Federation is now refusing to pay.
At the heart of the matter is Kalla’s decision to train separately from the rest of the team last season.
The Swedish Expressen quotes Johan Sares, Federation’s top manager and an ultimate boss of cross country skiing in the country ” No, we have no notion of changing the system”
Sares got a point – the team’s sponsors expect Swedish skiing stars – of which Kalla is currently the brightest – to endorse their products – by staying away from the team Kalla, obviously, is not fully engaged in those venerable activities. It also appears that the contract the Svenska Skidförbundet signs with its skiers stipulates full participation – so the law is on the side of the Federation.
“It feels like … it should not be so that only those belonging to a national team are rewarded for their success when winning in the national team’s uniform. At the same time – it’s a rule they have, so one just would have to go by it” Kalla tells Expressen.
Kalla has already declared that she has no intention of changing her ways and would be preparing for the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang separately from the rest of the team. Which brings up the question of potential future bonuses.
Apart from her Lahti bonus, Kalla seems to lose the so-called yearly bonus from the Federation that amounts to further SEK 100.000 – so, all in all about EUR 22.000. Not a small change by any means – but Charlotte Kalla AB, the Swedish star’s prime financial vehicle through which she handles her earnings has declared a profit of SEK 2.2 mln (EUR 230.000) for 2016.
Yet the Swedish skiers’ income – both through individual earnings and national federation bonuses – are dwarfed by those of their Norwegian neighbors. As per contracts signed in 2014 and lasting through the Olympic Games in PyeongChang, members of the Norwegian team are entitled to to a yearly NOK 200.000 ( EUR 21.000) yearly stipend – while three top stars Martin Johnsrud Sundby, Marit Bjørgen and Therese Johaug ( but not Petter Northug) got a special deal that guarantees them NOK 1mln. per year – and Johaug, for instance, receives these money even now, while being benched for doping.
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