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


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 the second part of this three-part series we will explain why.


Veikkausliiga and Professionalism


Veikkausliiga’s role as an organisation is to run its operations and develop football as the country’s top domestic league. Veikkausliiga is a governing body that should develop the conditions for the operation of its own clubs. On these issues, we have been lightyears behind in comparison, for example, to our domestic ice hockey league; Liiga.


For example, in ice hockey, we have merited leaders, while in Veikkausliiga we have club leaders who are more focused on their own interests. In this country, the business and sporting side of ice hockey are well-handled but the same cannot be said of Veikkausliiga. The top bodies of Veikkausliiga have an operation side, which has shortcomings in its professionalism.


Are the most important figures in the most important positions and has everything possible been done for Finnish football within the organisation? Are club representatives on the board of Veikkausliiga deciding on matters or should there be professionals from the business world and the sports world instead?


The governance model of Veikkausliiga is simply wrong and it would be worth considering the answers to the above questions.


In addition, Veikkausliiga, Kansallisen Liiga, Miesten Ykkönen ja Naisten Ykkönen, should all be under the same umbrella organisation. It would provide clubs with the required resources to bring more professionalism and better conditions for operations through skilled operational management and a new neutral government model.


This opportunity for holistic development is thrown straight out the window while we are not even trying to work together for the common good.


Once all this is put in place, then we can start talking about equality and the systematic development of football in Finland. Players, coaches, and club leaders have a responsibility for results, but for some reason no responsibility is taken on some levels.


All you have to do is look at the values of sponsorship agreements, the results of the organisation, or how the game has developed over the last five to ten years. If there is no development, there is usually a tendency in any organisation to reform operations and find solutions that would improve the situation.


The question that arises from this discussion is why has this not been done?


The Football Association and Neutrality


The President of the Finnish Football Association has done an immeasurable amount of good work for Finnish football. Reforms along with his key decisions alone have undoubtedly guided the Football Association in the right direction. The President has initiated major changes in the Football Association and the football community. His involvement and work should be appreciated.


Nevertheless, is it right that he is also the owner of a Finnish top flight club at the same time? Obviously, he’s in the right place and he should remain in his current role, but ownership of a club can’t affect his daily responsibilities when it comes to competitive sport.


Even if, in a position of trust, he himself would act impartially, does the rest of the organisation become impartial? In other countries, such a situation would directly affect top-level sports, but perhaps Finland as a country is immune to that.


In a civilised state and in the most important positions influencing the functions of common affairs today, there must always be complete assurance of neutrality. It is in everyone’s common interest and right but can this be guaranteed in the current situation?


- M. Lönnström

- J. Niemelä

- J. Raitanen

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