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Finnish Sport and hockey, a case of corruption?



Recent years have Finnish hockey on the national level celebrating great achievements and producing many upcoming stars such as Laine, Aho, Puljujärvi, Teräväinen etc.

It would be easy to think considering those facts that the Finnish Sport is doing well.

But, obviously, it is far from being completely true as there are strong media voices who tell that there is a much darker side that obstructs the Finnish Sport including the hockey from further and yet stronger development.

I’ve been in contact with Geemedia and the CEO Risto Partanen who revealed completely another story about the Finnish hockey and sport, a story that was sad and miserable to take part in.

No matter how miserable it might appear, it has to be brought into the light as a lot of these corrupt matters and behaviors have been kept in silence for a long time.

Case number 1:

For three years Geemedia has been repeatedly banned and brought back into the mail list from which the Finnish hockey association sends invitations to games and tournaments.

Henna Malmberg, the communicator for the Finnish HA has according to Geemedia counted their articles and claimed that they have written too few. Meanwhile, another media site, Sport Maailma has only one big news article per month but is allowed to the media boxes anywhere.

I asked Henna Malmberg through email why Geemedia has been banned or are not receiving any invitations to the media boxes. She replied that they are on the mailing list but that she also said that if Geemedia has changed their email address, they’d better contact her.

But she said nothing about the numbers of articles that Geemedia produced in comparison to other media sites, which could be held as quite suspect and as indicating that there is something behind the silence about that matter.

But, here is the thing, the address has been the very same and works perfectly.

Geemedia and Partanen called during the last summer the board of communication of the Finnish HA and asked them about Henna’s authority. After that call, there was no problem at all until now.

They also asked Henna herself if her treatment was on a personal level, but according to her reply to them, it is not, and she is doing all only according the rules.

The last email from the Finnish HA Geemedia received was in October.

So, the story goes on again apparently as it has done for three years and there was no invitation whatsoever to the Karjala tournament from the Finnish HA.

Conclusions from the case number 1:

So, if there is nothing personal, how come we have the same thing going, on that Geemedia are excluded from time to time from the Finnish HA events during three years?

Several emails can’t just disappear in the air like that even if there might occur general technical issues as well, certainly not if the email to Geemedia works more than fine.

And, if there had been a mistake with the emails and invitations, it would have been a very easy thing for Henna Malmberg and the Finnish HA to correct that and they could have told Geemedia for example that they can take any seat that fits for their work as media.

But, they haven’t done such a simple thing and the following and natural question appears to mind: why?

Most likely there seems to be something they have against media, perhaps especially against Geemedia, which they are not telling or want to be known.

I can’t help myself throwing out another question:

Is there more that the Finnish HA tries to hide from being publically known?

Furthermore about the Finnish HA and yet more depriving things:

Geemedia told also that the Finnish HA is using the license fees from the juniors for many other things than to evolve the game and develop the players.

So, where are the fees going really?

That’s a question the football people, for example, have asked in an article about their case with the fees raised (Finnish. Use the rough google translation)

Case number 2:

Helsinki IFK, the well-renowned hockey club in the hockey world, has accused Geemedia of being a roll-in for foreign betting companies and banned them from attending the HIFK games.

Petteri Linnavalli, the head communicator for Helsinki IFK, has single-handedly in the name of HIFK made that decision to close out Geemedia.

Linnavalli, for personal use, also took away the parking spot from STT despite the fact that the columnist and the photographer needed the car parking.

Meanwhile, as regards the accusation of being a roll-in to the foreign betting companies, the international betting company Unibet is allowed to rent a lodge in HIFK’s home venue and arrange competitions for the fans.

Geemedia and Partanen were going to write about the case but Unibet asked them to be silent about the matter.

As we all can see and understand as well, the international betting companies don’t need any particular assistance to get into any country’s market as they do find a route into it by themselves.

Conclusions from the case number 2:

Concerning Petteri Linnavalli, he obviously makes his own decisions and runs over the rest of the board about who is allowed to the games or not.

So, what is next? A coup for taking over the whole entire Helsinki club and running it as if it were his own personal toy?

Case number 3:

The same Unibet who has been allowed by HIFK to rent a lodge in Helsinki arena was prepared to pay for the safety features in rinks but the betting company Veikkaus who decide as the monopoly said no to Unibet’s offer.

Veikkaus said also no to Unibet when they were prepared to pay for a leaking roof for an indoor hall where juniors play, which meant of course that the juniors had to keep playing inside during wet conditions.

Conclusion from case number 3:

I can’t find any other conclusion that Veikkaus only want to earn money but won’t take any responsibility for the sport’s evolution in Finland.

And, of course, obstruct as much as possible other companies from taking part of the sports market and arranging betting and games for the fans.


Geemedia pointed out the fact as well that Finland has, by constitutional law, freedom of speech but the players can’t be interviewed without accreditation.

“We are a trademarked sports magazine and not a nonsense site, however, ” said Geemedia to me.

Conclusion from all these cases above:

Something or perhaps many things are far from right in Finnish sport including the hockey.

One cannot help wondering what is going on there.

What are they trying to hide? Are there other kinds of scandals among the Finnish HA, HIFK, Veikkaus and Petteri Linnavalli that have not been revealed yet?

Is it all about to showing power as they so desire and acting as if the Finnish sports market were their own personal backyard?

If that is the case, these are then a bunch of corrupt people with such heinous minds that I would choose to stay away from them as far as possible under every circumstance.

Perhaps after all the genius Martin Scorsese is right about one thing, if we let his words close this matter for this time:

It’s interesting that these themes of crime and political corruption are always relevant

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Arto Palovaara, Sunday Chronicler for Sports Rants Europe. Previously, he contributed for the betting company Betsafe, Svenska fans, Get real hockey and Ice nation UK. He is also an educated archaeologist and life coach who loves literature and history. Not to forget: probably he is the only sportswriter that plays the banjo.