In an interview with Urheilulehti, published today, the President of the Finnish Sports Confederation takes an unprecedentedly strong position on the value conflict of public funding for sport.
No sports director has previously publicly questioned the subsidies received from Veikkaus' income - more precisely, their origin.
- We have an elephant in the room, which no sports representative talks about.
Gambling disadvantages are a huge problem in Finland, comparable to substance abuse problems.
Nevertheless, the basic logic of sports funding is that the more people lose money to Veikkaus, the more money sports make, says Itani in Urheilulehti.
- There is a huge conflict of values here.
I do not comment on Veikkaus' monopoly position or the responsibility of its operations in general.
The problem is precisely Veikkaus' position in society, Itani emphasizes.
Itani herself does not play gambling, but says she is well aware of the disadvantages of gambling.
- It's a fact that gaming is polarized.
Those who would have the most need for money also have the most gambling problems.
And this is emphatically a Finnish problem.
There is no need to have this discussion anywhere else, Itani, who works as the CEO of the Adecco Finland Group, points out.
In general, Itani is much more involved in the value debates.
- The Finnish sports movement should also be able to address the community outside its own bubble more credibly, above all with a value debate.
Only in this way can we gain legitimacy from outside sport, more broadly from society.
And through that, we can also get more public and private funding, Itani believes.
Itani says in Urheilulehti that he is frustrated by the rigidity of sports decision-making.
He has tabled several rule changes, but hardly anything has gone through.
- No decision-making in sports should be so slow and stiff.
For example, SUL's current organizational structure is challenging for decision-making.
I noticed a couple of years that the company management is shockingly a lot easier than in sports management, the year 2019 started at the beginning of the Chairman Itani download.
- Sure, criticism can also be due to the fact that I myself am unable to lead the organization in which I do not get my will through often enough, he adds.
He would give more decision-making power to clubs and even athletes.
- The clubs have practical experience of everyday sports.
And there is definitely a need for more young people, women and people from different social backgrounds to be decision makers.
The world is changing, that is, how miraculously crowded gangs could find the right solutions to all things, he asks.
According to Itan, the ultimate purpose of his statements is a sincere desire to improve the (sports) world.
- Sport can play a very important role in promoting democracy and serving the welfare state.
But organizations need to take on that role and also free up athletes if they want to take on that role.
It must not be prevented.
It is clear from the lines that Itani will not necessarily run in the SUL presidential election in just over a year.
- I will not comment.
I will tell you my decision after the Tokyo Olympics, Itani pounds.