Harri Syväsalmi appointed Secretary General of Finnish Center for Integrity in Sports

Harri Syväsalmi was appointed Secretary General of the Finnish Center for Integrity in Sports (FINCIS), established earlier this year. Mr. Syväsalmi, whose national and international career is extensive, is currently Director of Sports at the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.

The new top post drew a lot of interest: there were more than 40 applications for the job. After a thorough selection process, the FINCIS Board of Directors unanimously chose Harri Syväsalmi, LL.B., (b. 1952), who will start in the job on 1 June 2016. The Board was particularly impressed by Syväsalmi’s long and varied background in promoting ethical conduct in sports. Syväsalmi’s task will be to launch the operations of FINCIS. He will retire from the post in 2020 at the latest.

“FINCIS is a unique organization in the world. We are creating a novel approach to fulfilling the obligations of international treaties and we want to set an example for other countries. Harri Syväsalmi, with his extensive international and domestic connections, is a real expert on ethical issues in sport. He is the right man to lay a solid foundation for the organisation, after which he can pass the baton—and his know-how—to his follower. It is fortunate that Mr. Syväsalmi showed interest in setting up the operations of the new organisation,” says Pekka Ilmivalta, FINCIS Chairman of the Board.

In 2000–2003, Mr. Syväsalmi served as the first Secretary General of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and was involved in launching the operations of the international antidoping organisation. He has also worked as Chair of the Working Group for the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions.

“Recent events and news in sport have been depressing. Ethical issues are now more important than ever and it is time to act. I am highly motivated and eager to start my work in deployment, implementation and interaction, both domestically and in the international arena. I look forward to cooperation with the expert and skilled staff of FINCIS,” Mr. Syväsalmi says.

“It is the duty of us all to actively defend and respect the most important of our core values: the integrity of sport. If we accept undesirable phenomena in sport, we will destroy its very foundations. In my new task, I want to leave a legacy of ethically sustainable sports culture and a spirit of fair play.”

The current Secretary General of FINCIS, Ms. Pirjo Ruutu, will be retiring in 2017, through a part-time retirement scheme. The Finnish Center for Integrity in Sports was established in January 2016 by extending the agenda of the Finnish Antidoping Agency (FINADA). FINCIS is responsible for advocating on behalf of ethical principles in Finnish sport, carrying out antidoping activities and preventing match-fixing and spectator violence, among other things. FINCIS extensively collaborates with other stakeholders in sports, as well as with the authorities and representatives of the State.

Further information:
Pekka Ilmivalta
Tel. +358 50 596 7906

Photographs: Print-quality photographs of Harri Syväsalmi and Pirjo Ruutu can be downloaded at http://www.antidoping.fi/06042016-tiedotustilaisuus. The press is welcome to use the photographs without charge. Please give photo credits to FINCIS.
Video: Harri Syväsalmi and Pirjo Ruutu introduce themselves on a video clip that can be viewed at https://youtu.be/wzuYH5Mi5HE.

FINCIS is a non-profit organisation responsible for the practical implementation of the Council of Europe’s Anti-Doping Convention, the UNESCO International Convention Against Doping in Sport, the Council of Europe’s Convention on Spectator Violence, and the Council of Europe’s Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions. The name “Finnish Antidoping Agency FINADA” will still be used as an auxiliary name of the new organisation. The organisation receives funding from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.