Sami Itani, President of the Finnish Sports Confederation, opened the dams two weeks ago in Urheilulehti and Ilta-Sanomat.
According to Itan, there is a huge value contradiction in it that “the more people lose money to Veikkaus, the more money sports get”.
Mika Anttonen, the main owner of the oil company ST1, who registered for the chairmanship of the Olympic Committee last week, said in an interview with Helsingin Sanomat that the “whole of financing” connected to Veikkaus is very difficult.
- The operating conditions of Finnish sports and exercise cannot be financed by people with gambling problems, Anttonen said.
In Monday's Helsingin Sanomat, Iisa Gebhard, chairman of the Alliance, an umbrella organization for the youth sector, and Anna Munsterhjelm, executive director, wrote that "it is not right that the promotion of young people's well-being depends on the amount of gambling".
On Tuesday, Pekka Ilmivalta, the new Executive Director of the Floorball Association and former Veikkaus Law and Responsibility Manager at HS, joined the choir.
- When there is a connection to gambling addiction, it may be better in the long run that these two things (sports financing and gambling) are separated, Ilmivalta said in HS.
Sami Itani talked cleanly about the relationship between sport and Veikkaus in September in Urheilulehti. Photo: Emmi Korhonen / Lehtikuva
And now a heavier speech is heard.
It will be presented by the current chairman of the Olympic Committee, Timo Ritakallio.
- It is difficult for me to understand why sports and exercise should strongly defend the Finnish gambling system and the related monopoly.
I find it awkward that we should defend gambling that causes social problems, contrary to the values and principles of physical activity, Ritakallio says in the Sports Journal that will be published on Wednesday.
Ritakallio's comment is very exceptional, even revolutionary.
This is not what you have “said” in Finland.
Behind the scenes, Veikkaus has made sure that the sports and exercise population and other beneficiaries specifically defend Veikkaus and its monopoly position.
And now the appropriateness of the whole system is questioned by Finland's most influential sports director, who is also the chairman of the largest single beneficiary.
- It should be thought that the state budget receives different revenues, and the state supports things that are considered important in society from its expenditure budget.
It cannot be the case that an industry is completely dependent on gambling revenues.
After all, the revenue from any particular tax is not earmarked, Ritakallio points out.
According to Ritakallio, the state has many good reasons to support physical activity and sports from the budget.
- The immobility of Finns causes billions of costs every year.
Top sports, on the other hand, truly unite all sections of the population.
Exercise and sport increase community spirit and, for example, better integrate immigrants into society than just about anything.
Things like that should be considered.
Therefore, society has very compelling reasons to manage financing other than gambling income, Ritakallio says.
In an interview with the sports magazine, Ritakallio summarizes the progress and challenges of his four-year presidency, which ends in November.
Ritakallio wants to continue to pay attention to improving the socio-economic status of athletes and coaches.
- The situation of individual athletes in particular is difficult from a financial, social, pension and insurance point of view.
Many live on very low incomes, there is no protection against injury, for example, and no pension is accrued.
- It is essential to create conditions in which athletes are in the same position as other employees.
The issue needs to be made visible to policy makers in order for it to move forward.
Models also need to be developed so that coaching can cope.
If the coaches did not have a huge passion for their work, our sport would be in much greater difficulty than at present, Ritakallio knows.
In the sports magazine, Ritakallio also considers the growing demand for responsibility in sports, admits that the Olympic Committee has failed in its fundraising, speaks of the Olympic Committee's extended scale of measuring success and wonders why, for example, the Parliament's "sports party"
- Only a few weeks ago we talked about this in the board of the Olympic Committee.
For example, in the last parliamentary elections, I did not see any campaigns or debates in which sports and sports issues were on the agenda, Ritakallio regrets.
Extensive interview by Timo Ritakallio, Chairman of the Olympic Committee, in the Sports Journal published on Wednesday.