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FINLAND - WE ARE A GENUINE FOOTBALL SOCIETY? (PART ONE)


This summer Finland's beloved Eagles Owls will take part in a historic first-ever European Championships. Our football-loving country is living through wonderful moments in the long history of this sport.


However, unfortunately the pandemic has highlighted grievances from leading figures in Finnish football. When things are going well, one must not become content, but should strive to continue the development despite experiencing a positive period.


Because if the development stops then the success ends. Recently, there has been irresponsibility and a lack of work for the common good of Finnish football. In this three-part series I will explain why.


The Pandemic and Taking Responsibility


Unfortunately, due to the pandemic in Finland, football has been let off on a loose leash for more than a year now and for what reason? Last October, the Ministry of Education and Culture set up a Working Group on Safe Events. Representatives in this working group were the Church Board, the Associations of Finnish Municipalities, the Olympic Committee ETC, and HJK.


Is it in the interests of Finnish football that only one Veikkausliiga club is representing our domestic game instead of the Finnish Football Association? Is the situation the same for all clubs if only one club represents the entire sport? How do they ensure equality within the game?


Without fans in the stadium and the difficulties that clubs are facing, it is pointless to only blame the Regional State Administrative Agency because the Football Association is not at the forefront of this issue.


All credit to HJK for their efforts, but several questions have risen from all this. If this is the result during this pandemic then those mentioned above are responsible for the outcome of the situation. This difficult situation in sport has been known for a long time and football’s decision-makers have had more than enough time to influence it or even put things right.


Now we have clearly failed in this regard. At this point, Veikkausliiga are just papering over the cracks by sending letters to our Prime Minister. Writing letters and making complaints on social media should have been done a long time ago.


These issues have clearly been poorly handled, so right now it’s best for those at the top to either remain silent or simply admit failure. The Football Association should have taken a leading role in this matter from the very beginning.


They are the umbrella organisation of the sport and they should be the only real leader in our civilised state for the benefit of the entire football community. The clubs have their own responsibility in this situation but the main responsibility lies, of course, with the government's decision-makers and officials.


But are the right people in the right positions in the Football Association? If in this crisis those, who are supposed to be at the forefront, do not act as a common guardian and a representative of only one club represents the entire sport?


The way they take responsibility and act in a crisis tells us about the personnel, values, and organisation in place.


- M. Lönnström

- J. Niemelä

- J. Raitanen

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