On 21 August 2018, the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture published a bulletin, according to which Minister for European Affairs, Culture and Sport Sampo Terho has sent a letter on the topic to the Portuguese minister in charge of sports. The communication was on the topic of serious sexual harassment of Finnish athletes at the European Student Championships organised in Coimbra, Portugal, in July. In the bulletin, Minister Terho called for a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment and for close cooperation between the countries to eradicate sexual harassment. The Finnish Student Sports Federation (OLL) is very grateful for the statement by Minister Terho and for the fact that the case has led to a number of measures as well as public debate in Finland.
The police are investigating the sexual violence and harassment case at the EUSA Games. The police investigation in Finland is at the stage where the police heard the victims at the beginning of August. The Finnish police are cooperating with the police in Portugal on the case. The discussion of the case with other sports federations continued also at FISU Forum in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. OLL has been thankful to see many countries support Finland's policy and share a joint concern about the safety of athletes. Our objective is to see clear policies to prevent harassment and measures to take action in cases of harassment in all national and international student and academic sports.
Overall, the Finnish Student Sports Federation (OLL) is happy that different organisations and individuals have taken action regarding sexual harassment in sports. We hope that the case will continue to be discussed at future events and forums, and that the sports organisations in different countries will genuinely commit to an operational environment that is safe and harassment-free.
The European University Sports Association EUSA, who organised the competition, has remained silent on the matter. EUSA President Adam Roczek has said that EUSA is conducting an internal evaluation of the events and that they will not comment on the matter before the evaluation is finished. The EUSA Office is currently on vacation and e.g. Secretary General Matjaž Pečovnikwill return to work at the end of August.
The Finnish Student Sports Federation (OLL)
The Finnish Student Sports Federation (OLL), founded in 1924, is a national advocacy and service organisation working on behalf of Finnish student sports. OLL is the common representative for all Finnish higher education students. OLL advances student wellbeing, community, study ability and health through physical activity. OLL's goal is to strengthen sport services and culture at higher education institutions.
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