A controversial forfeit that spurred debate over the role of off-ice officials in curling wound up affecting the final outcome of the European Curling Championships, as the Norwegian team skipped by Thomas Ulsrud missed the playoffs.
Norway finished round-robin play with a 5-4 record, landing in a four-way tie for third place. Denmark and Scotland ranked ahead of Norway and Italy on tiebreakers and claimed the last two semifinal spots.
Switzerland took the second seed. The Swedish team skipped by Niklas Edin, known to U.S. fans as the team John Shuster and company defeated to win Olympic gold in 2018, finished round-robin play unbeaten.
On Sunday, Norway had comfortably defeated England, which had just been promoted to the top division this year, by a 9-5 score. But after the game, officials informed Norway they would forfeit because a substitute who entered the game did not use the same broom head as the player he replaced.
The forfeit was England’s only win of the event.
Had the on-ice result stood and the rest of the round robin played out as it actually did, Norway would have finished at 6-3, tied with Switzerland for second place and comfortably in the semifinals.
The good news for Norway is that the team easily qualified for the World Championships. Scotland automatically qualifies as host, leaving seven spots open for the rest of the field.
Coverage of the European championships will continue on the Olympic Channel through the weekend (all times ET):
- Thursday, 1 p.m.: Men’s semifinal
- Friday, 8 a.m.: Women’s semifinal
- Friday, 1 p.m.: Women’s bronze medal game
- Saturday, 4 a.m.: Men’s bronze medal game
- Saturday, 9 a.m.: Women’s gold medal game
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