FINCIS publishes a report on harassment in football and ice hockey national teams

According to a report released today by the Finnish Center for Integrity in Sports FINCIS, dozens of players in Finnish national football and ice hockey teams have experienced harassment during their sports careers. Women and young players in particular have been harassed. In many serious cases, the harasser was a person holding a position of authority or trust in relation to the athlete. The survey was carried out on the joint initiative of the Finnish football and ice hockey associations.

FINCIS explored athletes’ experiences of sexual and gender-based harassment in the national football and ice hockey teams. According to the survey, more than one in ten of the national team players (54 respondents) had experienced harassment during their sports career. Most of those who had experienced harassment were women.

Most of the serious harassment cases had occurred outside the national team, but inappropriate conduct had also been perceived in the national teams. In all cases of physical sexual harassment in the national teams, the victims were male athletes. Several female athletes reported that they had experienced gender-based harassment in the national teams.

“According to the report, athletes do not perceive any long-term or repeated sexual harassment or threat thereof in the national teams. However, several players have been involved in situations where people have behaved inappropriately,” explains FINCIS’ project researcher Johanna Hentunen, M.Sc. (Sport and Health).

Thirty-three of the respondents had experienced harassment outside the national teams. Of those, ten had experienced physical sexual harassment. In many cases, the harasser was a coach or some other person within the organisation.

“Based on the report, we are particularly concerned with the abuse of authority and the inadequate resolution of harassment cases. It is usually the harasser who is in a position of power. Athletes who have experienced harassment do not know how to report it or where to seek help,” says Hentunen.

The report includes recommendations for measures to facilitate intervention and to make it easier for the victims to report harassment in the future.

“The threshold for reporting harassment is too high. We need practical tools to deal with and resolve cases of harassment,” Hentunen explains.

The electronic questionnaire survey was conducted between May and September 2018. The questionnaire was sent to all national football and ice hockey teams of all age groups. The survey was responded to by 496 athletes. The response rate was 55%. The survey, conducted by FINCIS, was commissioned by the Finnish Ice Hockey Association and the Football Association of Finland.

The Finnish Center for Integrity in Sports promotes ethical conduct in sports in cooperation with the entire sports community. FINCIS’ areas of responsibility include anti-doping activities, preventing the manipulation of competitions and promoting spectator safety and comfort. FINCIS carries out its mission through education, research, active communication and cooperation. It collaborates extensively with both national and international authorities and stakeholders in sport.

Further information:
Susanna Sokka
FINCIS Information Manager
Tel. +358 40 740 7477