European athletics president accused of covering up doping tests in the 80s
Svein Arne Hansen in 2015. Photo: Norges idrettsforbund/Flickr
Following the European Athletics Associations’ suggestion to erase world and European records set before 2005, the EA president, Svein Arne Hansen has been accused of having helped cover for doped athletes in the 1980s.
Hansen was head of the Norwegian Bislett Games from 1985-2009 and in an article in Norwegian newspaper Aftonbladet, track and field athlete Patrik Sjöberg alleges that, during the 80’s, Hansen helped cover up doping tests taken during the Bislett Games.
“We, who he knew were clean, were paid to do doping tests,” Sjöberg says to Aftonbladet.se.” He (Hansen, ed.) has a lot to tell. Maybe he should let us clean athletes keep our stuff,” he continues, referring to the records that could be erased and says that he was offered 500-1000 USD to ‘do the job’.
Hansen denies having had any knowledge about which athletes were tested at the time and has threatened to sue Sjöberg following the accusations.
Marketing manager of the Bislett Games at the time, Anne-Lise Hammer, supports Sjöberg’s version and calls Hansen’s description a ‘distortion of the reality’, writes VG.no who has spoken with Hammer about her perception of the Bislett Games in the 1980’s. According to Hammer, the highest priority for the Bislett Games in that period was to have “the fewest possible scandals, the most records, the biggest possible name and filling the tribunes”, she recalls.
Other allegations from Hammer include that Hansen himself has claimed to have done a doping test on behalf of an athlete competing at the Bislett Games to avoid having to deal with a possibly positive test.
In an email to vg.no, the EAA president admits that he could have said something that could have led people to believe that he had done such a test but denies that it actually happened.
“I have to admit that 30-35 years ago I could have contributed to initiating a tale about having taken a doping test for an athlete,” the email from Hansen says. “It was reckless talk. But it doesn’t make it true. I have not done anything like it.”