Officials acknowledge that organising of Olympic Games completely beyond Finland’s means
Ministry of Education reluctant to keep picking up the tab for losses incurred
Any lingering dreams of Finland organising some large-scale international sporting events in the future were buried in a conference arranged on Tuesday by the Ministry of Education and various physical exercise federations.
According to Hannu Tolonen from the Ministry of Education, events like the Olympic Games, the Football World Cup and European Championships, as well as the World Championships in Athletics can be ruled out when discussing Finland’s future prospects as a host to international sporting gatherings.
"It is impossible to organise any prestigious sporting events spread over several days at the Olympic Stadium, the seating capacity of which is limited to just 37,000", Tolonen pointed out.
Furthermore, there are no plans to build any giant stadiums in Finland in the near future. The reason is clear. "After a mega sporting event, there would not be any other use for such a venue."
Tolonen estimated that Finland would have the capacity to host the Athletics European Championships, though. But even without any mega events, a plethora of various sporting events still takes place in Finland.
"This century alone we have already organised more than a hundred international events in various Olympic sports."
The business of applying to host a major sports competition is already quite a task in itself. In the conference, project manager Hanne Sejer from Denmark introduced the Danish model, according to which the Danish sports federations have hired a separate organisation to help them.
In Finland, such experts could use the Olympic Committee as their base, suggested the Finnish Olympic Committee Secretary-General Jouko Purontakanen, who warmed to the idea of the model.
Tolonen reminded the sports folks of the problems related to organising international events. The international federations leave less and less opportunities for the hosts for separate profit making.
The Ministry of Education does not always want to be the one left behind with its hand in its pocket covering for the domestic losses.
"First the federations and the organising cities have to agree on things in as minute detail as possible", Tolonen stated as the starting point before approaching the Ministry for any additional help.
As an alternative to covering the organising expenses, the event can be guaranteed against possible losses from public funds.
As a good example of a worthy host Tolonen named the city of Lahti, which has organised the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships no less than six times.