Floorball | “Where the hell are the thousands of skids?” – The Finnish boss lists the glaring mistakes of the World Cup

Singapore

First Finnish general secretary of the International Floorball Association John Liljelund would like to mention the successes in Singapore.

According to his information, the athletes were satisfied with the arrangements of the Women's Floorball World Cup, such as the game arenas and food supply.

Television footage of the Games was also sent to 17 countries. The number was higher than at the previous World Championships in Uppsala two years ago.

On the day of the final, thousands of spectators watched the games at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. In addition, many local politicians arrived in the stands during the games.

The list of things to criticize stretches considerably longer.

First the floorball mat for the second preliminary series hall did not arrive on time because it was on a different ship than it was supposed to be. The reason was the floor supplier.

Liljelund describes the mistake as blatant.

John LIjelund, Secretary General of the International Floorball Association IFF, handed the silver trophy to Finland's captain Veera Kaup.

Then it was the ticket episode's turn. Just a few days before the start of the WC tournament, the competition organizer had not yet received permission to display the flags of the participating countries in the game arenas. The matter was arranged with a phone call.

When the games started, the organizers forbade the spectators who arrived there to wave flags, drum and ring cowbells typical of Swiss fans.

The organizers told Liljelund that the encouragement disturbs the audience. This was also where Liljelund intervened, and the flags were finally allowed to fly freely in the games.

“Throughout the Games, the lack of local spectators was a big problem.”

The most talked about topic before the finals weekend – and Finland's miserable opening round of the World Cup final – the weak viewership of the games increased.

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Audience numbers remained modest, especially in non-deciding games. According to the local organizer, a little over 10,000 spectators had visited the games before the matches of the final weekend.

The audience ceiling was reacted to by reducing the ticket prices for the final weekend by half of the original price.

The Finnish dressing room was protected by a door curtain brought from home.

Finals day the games were reported to have had over 7,000 spectators. Liljelund estimates that the final number of spectators for the tournament will be more than 20,000 spectators.

“Throughout the games, the lack of local spectators was a big problem. The finals weekend saved a lot, but not the overall picture,” says Liljelund.

The audience record for the Women's World Cup is from 2019, when more than 44,000 spectators arrived in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

According to Liljelund, the Singapore Games were not marketed sufficiently. The competition was organized by a production company called Kin Productions, which was commissioned by Sport Singapore, an agency under the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.

The local sports association and the Singapore Tourism Board, which develops Singapore's tourism industry, also work in the background.

“But where the hell are the thousands of skids playing floorball in schools in Singapore?”

The local union and the production company were supposed to take care of marketing and advertising in cooperation, but in the end no one took responsibility for it, says Liljelund.

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So there were various problems in ticket sales.

For example, on Thursday, the game-goer would have had to buy two separate day tickets worth 30 euros to be able to watch the games in both halls of the OCBC arena.

The reason was said to be “deficiencies in the system”.

Singaporeans have told Liljelund that there were no spectators even at, for example, the tennis Grand Prix tournament.

“But where the hell are the thousands of skids playing floorball in schools in Singapore?” Liljelund asks.

According to him, Singaporeans have not understood the way in which sports and sporting events are evaluated in Europe or how the events are structured.

Should the IFF have sharpened the importance of the matter more?

“It has indeed been sharpened, and it has been asked what has been done for ticket sales. We were told that there was a social media campaign, but according to the local floorball people, no such thing has been seen.”

This is how the International Floorball Federation IFF advertised the games near the metro station.

By accident the floorball boss also believes that the number of spectators reported by the local organizer in advance was not true, i.e. they did not materialize in the end.

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“Maybe they haven't been able to communicate clearly enough that nothing has been done. However, I don't know if it would have changed anything.”

According to Liljelund, the losses of the games are offset by the local organizer.

The public has criticized why the World Cup sleds were brought to Asia in the first place, far from the great European countries of the sport.

Finnish coach

“That's why you have to be ready to do things and develop the sport. Let history prove whether we were right or wrong.”

For the IFF, bringing the games to Asia is, according to Liljelund, “extremely important” in terms of sports policy, if the sport wants to grow bigger and more international than it is now.

A big step forward is, for example, floorball's participation in the Southeast Asian Games, in which 11 countries and more than 6,000 athletes participate.

Liljelund says that if the sport does not have an international base and does not grow and its importance does not increase internationally, it will not grow at the domestic level either.

“That's why you have to be ready to do things and develop the sport. Let history prove whether we were right or wrong.”

The World Cup was a huge disappointment for Finland.

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