Harri Syväsalmi received an award at the Finnish Sports Gala

Harri Syväsalmi, a long-term sports influencer, received the Taustavoima (contributor) Award at the Finnish Sports Gala today. Syväsalmi has had an extensive career in the development of sports ethics both internationally and nationally.

Harri Syväsalmi, who has a volleyball background, has worked in top positions in sports for almost 50 years. His diverse range of posts include, for example, Director of Athletes’ Village, IAAF World Championships in Athletics 1983 and the tasks of sport administration in the Ministry of Education and Culture.

At the turn of the millennium, Syväsalmi actively participated in the establishment of the World Anti-Doping Agency WADA. Founded in 1999, the organisation promotes, coordinates and monitors anti-doping activities in sport. Syväsalmi served as the organisation’s first Secretary General from 2000 to 2003, laying the foundations for globally unified anti-doping activities. The World Anti-Doping Code of the independent World Anti-Doping Agency WADA has been adopted by more than 700 sports organisations around the world.

From the world of anti-doping, Syväsalmi proceeded through various posts in Finland to the European Union and the Council of Europe (2011–2017) to develop an international convention to combat the manipulation of sports competitions. The aim of the agreement is to strengthen the integrity, ethics and fair competition of sports and to protect athletes. The objective is to establish a common legal framework for effective international co-operation to combat this global threat. Syväsalmi continued his work until 2017 by acting as the Chair of the Expert Group on Match-Fixing of the Council of Europe.

In Finland, Syväsalmi participated in the launch of the Finnish Center for Integrity in Sports (FINCIS) and served as the organisation’s Secretary General in 2016–2018. In his work, Syväsalmi was able to utilise both his strong anti-doping background and comprehensive expertise in the fight against competition manipulation.

Since retiring, Syväsalmi has held positions of trust in volleyball and participated in the EU’s international SAPIS (Strengthening Athlete Power in Sport) project. He played an active role in initiating the project, which aims to strengthen the voice of athletes in sports administration and create new approaches to the empowerment of athletes.

Syväsalmi is a well-known and distinguished international actor in the field with exceptionally extensive networks both nationally and internationally. He was proud to accept the well-deserved Taustavoima (contributor) Award.

“This is a significant award of recognition for clean athletes and ethical sports. It has been great to be involved in making sports even better and fairer, both nationally and internationally. Let’s not always do things the way they’ve been done before, let’s instead strive to improve. What makes this journey especially great are the numerous encounters I’ve had with various athletes and other sports stakeholders along the way. Thank you everyone,” Harri Syväsalmi says.

The recipient of the Taustavoima (contributor) award may be a coach, guardian, official, club worker, referee, fan or sports influencer whose contribution has been exceptionally significant or who has had a developmental impact on the sport through their performance, decisions, leadership or opinions.

Additional information:
Susanna Sokka
FINCIS Communications Manager
tel. +358 40 740 7477