Espoo sports service manager Markku Sistonen the phone has been ringing at a rapid pace in recent weeks. At the other end of the phone have been parents of children and young people who have reported continuing to pursue hobbies during the metropolitan restrictions in the metropolitan area.
Contacts and information from club members have clarified that there are differences in the willingness of clubs to act in accordance with the spirit of the corona guidelines.
According to Sistonen, once the city has closed its own indoor sports venues, the exercises have been taken outside the Helsinki metropolitan area and in open private halls.
In the metropolitan area there is currently a policy in place that indoor training is only allowed for professional athletes and national team athletes.
Outdoor training is allowed on shifts previously granted to children under 20 years of age. The same principle currently followed elsewhere in Uusimaa.
Private operators are not bound by restrictions imposed by cities. The city can only close its own premises with its decisions.
For private actors, the city has issued a recommendation to suspend indoor hobbies. Some follow the instructions, some do not.
“There is a wild situation at the moment and there is a grievance that needs to be addressed seriously. Clubs receive grants from the city and need to consider whether cities need to address this through it. Is it possible to see through the fingers that action is taken even when the city’s facilities are closed? ” Sistonen says.
Coronavirus restrictions the spectrum is diverse. The most important for sports are the restrictions imposed by municipalities or provinces and the instructions given to sports clubs by sports federations.
Restrictions on assembly recommended by the government and imposed by regional government agencies do not directly affect sports, as the exercises of the sports club are not general gatherings or public events.
Restrictions on gatherings can, of course, affect the starting points on which municipalities make their decisions and sports federations make their recommendations.
From private players, it is also possible to book a turn by a private person, even if players who know each other through club activities go to the turn. Sistonen says it is difficult to address these cases in any way.
“But when club activities are carried out and coaches are involved, there is a clear violation of the given instructions,” says Sistonen.
Sistonen considers it essential, in principle, that restrictions be complied with once they have been imposed. Sistonen believes that continuing the internship in the current situation is irresponsible, and he says that he sees the issue as an issue of equality.
“The restrictions have been made to be complied with so that the number of infections does not increase and the restrictions can be relaxed. If the restrictions are not followed, the situation may worsen and the restrictions will continue, ”says Sistonen.
Sistonen himself advocates a more lenient line for children and young people. He recalls a study conducted in the fall that found that coronavirus infections became very low in sports activities.
“If the situation continues for a long time, we will run out of young people who are engaged.”
Junior and the lines taken to engage young people are different in different parts of Finland.
For example, in Uusimaa, as in the hospital district of Southwest Finland, which is in the spread of coronavirus children and young people have had limited access sports activities in indoor guided groups.
Hobbies have had to follow safety intervals and close contacts have had to be avoided. Competition activities have also been suspended in Southwest Finland.
“We have considered it important that the opportunities for hobbies are secured. The perspectives are largely social, for example, concerns about increasing exclusion of the most vulnerable. This policy has risen from the representatives of the municipalities, ”says the Chief Physician for Infectious Diseases of the Hospital District of Southwest Finland. Mikko Pietilä.
Pietilä is also a member of the area’s corona coordination working group. He says there are relatively few observations of infections in children’s and young people’s hobbies. The situation in Southwest Finland is reviewed again on a weekly basis.
There is a coronavirus epidemic in Pirkanmaa According to the website of Tampere University Central Hospital currently in the acceleration phase. A pre-Epiphany decision in the province opened up activities for children and young people, which will be allowed in groups of up to ten people from Monday.
Information of the sports teams training elsewhere has also reached the Executive Director of the Espoo Ice Sports Support (Ejut) Jari Nybergin. Ejut has kept his hall in line with the recommendations.
“This is contradictory. We could basically be open because we’re not in control of the city, but we’ve wanted to leave health ahead, ”Nyberg says.
“I can’t take a stand on a decision per se when I’m not a professional. It is amazing that at the same time you can go in recreational activities outside of sports, for example in restaurants. ”
Both the disc-side Espoo junior executive Niko Merikanto that HIFK junior coaching manager Jari Riihinen report that renting interiors for internships is currently prohibited under club guidelines.
For Ejut, the solution to keeping halls is painful, as the reasons for keeping private halls open are easy to understand based on financial figures.
Ejut normally receives EUR 250,000 a month from its halls. For example, cleaning and maintenance costs have been cut, but that alone is not enough to cover the costs.
The ice in the halls has not been thawed, so that once the restrictions are removed, there is a readiness to start operations quickly.
Ejut’s member clubs are ice sports clubs from Espoo. Nyberg says member clubs pay their ice dues even though they are unable to use their ice shifts. Any corona subsidies go to the member clubs, not to the Ejut running the halls.
In Espoo the city only owns the Forum ice rink in Espoonlahti and partly the Tapiola training ice rink. In addition, the Metro arena has its own limited company.
Other halls are built and owned by Ejut, but the city also has cause for concern. Ejut has built its hall with loans, and the city is the guarantor. Currently, the loans guaranteed by the city are 24 million euros.
There may be immediate changes in the restrictions on hobbies for children and young people. Restrictions will be reviewed again this week, when the Helsinki Metropolitan Area Corona Coordination Group meets on Thursday.