Finnish football coach Juha Malinen: RoPS has “the most Finnish team” in the national league

by , under Enrique Tessieri

The head coach of Rovaniemen Pallo Seura (RoPS), Juha Malinen, claims to have put together the “most Finnish” team in the Finnish national football league. Did Malinen mean that he now coaches the most “white Finnish” team? It sure sounds that way. 

“A few years ago RoPS had thirteen black men [players],” he was quoted as saying on tabloid Iltalehti. “…We now have players whose names can be pronounced correctly and who Finns know…”

Christian Thibault is chairperson of Rasmus, a Finnish anti-racism NGO, was surprised by Malinen’s statements and why the Football Association of Finland is so quiet.

“The media and people speaking in the media will have to carry in mind how those sentences ring in those children’s ears and what message this is sending to them: RoPS had thirteen black men,” he said. “Non-white Finns where devastated by Juha Malinen’s words and they are asking if this is the hidden and accepted agenda in all of Finnish football and maybe beyond only just sports. It is them who deserve an answer.”

Näyttökuva 2014-4-8 kello 7.14.13

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Anything wrong with Malinen’s statement? Black people aren’t Finns? Talking about an all-white Finnish team is odd considering our ever-culturally diverse society that is globally integrated. Isn’t football the issue not ethnic background?

Do you think Malinen chose his words wisely and is his affirmation racist?