By Nick Butler

Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions chief Gerd Kristiansen has declared her support for Oslo 2022 ©TwitterOslo 2022 has received a boost after the leaders of two of Norway's most influential organisations declared their support for the under fire 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic bid.

This comes two weeks after Oslo, along with Almaty and Beijing, was selected as a Candidate City for the 2022 contest by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), despite the fact the Norwegian capital is yet to receive an endorsement from the national Government.

There remains vast opposition to the attempt to bring the Games to Oslo for the first time since 1952, particularly over the perceived high spending required to stage the Games, while the IOC itself has also been criticised for its supposed extravagance.

But the fact that both Gerd Kristianen, President of the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO), and Kristin Skogen Lund, the director general of the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprises (NHO), have now publicly declared their support, it questions the validity of arguments suggesting the bid will provide no economic boost to the country. 

"LO and NHO are important organisations with strong and influential positions in the Norwegian society," said Oslo 2022 chief executive Eli Grimsby. 

"The support from both Gerd Kristiansen and Kristin Skogen Lund are very inspiring and of great importance to the bid.

"We welcome their advice and input on how Norway can deliver unforgettable and sustainable Games."

Eli Grimsby is attempting to convince the public that an Oslo Games will be on a different scale to Sochi 2014 ©AFP/Getty ImagesEli Grimsby is attempting to convince the public that an Oslo Games will be on a different scale to Sochi 2014 ©AFP/Getty Images

LO is seen as the largest and most influential workers' organisation in Norway, with Kristiansen having met with IOC President Thomas Bach earlier this year, when he visited Oslo in what was widely interpreted as an attempt to drum up support for the bid.

Although she admitted opinion within LO was divided over the issue, Kristiansen told VK she believes "world sport will benefit from an Olympics in Oslo", before adding that "Oslo and Norway is one of the few places in the world that can manage to bring the Olympic Games back down to a level that is acceptable". 

NHO, meanwhile, is Norway's major organisation for employers and the leading business lobby with a current membership of more than 22,000 companies, ranging from small family-owned businesses to multi-national companies in most sectors.

Lund said that, like LO, no official stance has been taken, but that she personally thought a Winter Olympics would be great for the economy.

"Norway is an avid participant in the Winter Olympics, and it is not unreasonable that we can also arrange it," she told NRK.

"But we must set the requirements and take responsibility to get the Olympics on the right track."

This show of support comes at a crucial time as the Bid Committee attempt to build momentum ahead of the Norwegian Government's decision over whether to support the bid, due in the autumn.

The Progress Party, the minority group in the governing coalition led by Norwegian Finance Minister Siv Jensen, has already announced its opposition to the bid, but the larger Conservative group remain divided on the issue. 

But even if the Government do ultimately decide to back the bid, it seems unlikely the opposition movement will die down completely, and it seems equally infeasible that these critical voices will be swayed by the decisions of the LO and NHO leaders. 

The next official stage of the 2022 contest will now come on January 7, when the Candidature Files from the three successful cities will be due, before visits are paid by a yet-to-be-appointed IOC Evaluation Commission.

A final decision will then be made by the membership at the IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur, on July 31, 2015.