Sports federations play a key role in the investigation of general ethical issues as issuing any possible sanctions is performed in the disciplinary proceedings of the federations. Whenever necessary, FINCIS can support the investigation or carry out the investigation on the request of a federation. FINCIS or the federation can submit a report of an offence to the police if any matters that have a reasonable cause to suspect a crime are detected in the investigation.
Whenever an enquiry or investigation is initiated, an entry is made in the FINCIS register. The reports are automatically assigned a number that indicates who submitted the report, when and how it was submitted and what the report is about. The description of the report includes current information about the matter or event under investigation. In addition, the expectations towards FINCIS are laid out. A key principle of each investigation is the presumption of innocence.
In the analysis of the preliminary information, a description of who the concerned parties are and which rules or principles are applied in the investigation or, in practice, whether the rules cover the matter being investigated or not is determined. An additional goal of this phase is to determine whether there are any special characteristics in the operating environment or if there are any previous cases similar to the current case. An assessment of the duration of a possible investigation is also made at this stage.
A decision on whether to start an investigation or an alternative process, such as mediation or a report of a criminal offence, is made according to the internal protocol of FINCIS. Any possible parties to co-operate with are also determined at this stage. The circumstances surrounding the investigation of general ethical issues are often very sensitive for the parties concerned, which must be taken into account in all phases of the investigation. A successful investigation requires that the parties concerned are prepared and willing to process the matter under investigation. The process is explained to the parties concerned in as much detail as possible, if it is at all possible without jeopardising the investigation. Any party not involved is not informed of the initiation of an investigation.
Interviews with the parties concerned
The parties concerned are interviewed in the actual investigation. Memos of these interviews that indicate who was present in the interview and where and when the interview was conducted are drawn up. In addition to personal interviews, it is also possible to conduct interviews by phone or e-mail.
Other related and available materials are also gathered in addition to the interviews. Other materials related to the investigation of general ethical issues may include, for example, telephone or other data communication records disclosed by the parties concerned, minutes of the meetings of a club’s Board of Directors, memos and documents of other bodies and public documents issued by authorities. If reasonable grounds to suspect a crime is detected during an investigation of a party concerned who has reached the age of majority, the primary power to make a decision on whether to submit a report of an offence or not lies with the party concerned. If the party concerned has not reached the age of majority, all parties who know of the suspected crime may have the obligation to act, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Disciplinary actions of sports federations
The materials generated during the investigation are gathered, stored and archived by FINCIS. The investigation materials do not include any conclusions that suggest whether any disciplinary actions should be taken or not. The final investigation materials are submitted to the sports federations for the purpose of deciding on any possible disciplinary actions. The sports federations are responsible for delivering the materials to the parties concerned, and the federations may request additional information from the parties concerned whenever necessary. According to the current provisions, it is possible to lodge a complaint of a decision issued by a disciplinary body with the Finnish Sports Arbitration Board.
According to the current policy of FINCIS, any investigation materials are not disclosed to other parties with the exception of requests for information from the competent authorities.