Migrant Tales had the opportunity to speak to Futsal Club Persia, the futsal gym football team that got expelled from the league by the Finnish Football Federation for walking out of a game in protest. The saddest matter about the whole affair is that there is now one less team comprising of migrant and New Finn players in this country.
Christian Thibault, executive director of Liikkukaa – Sports for All, said that the Finnish Football Federation succeeded at one meeting to destroy all that had been built by volunteers for a long time.
“We have seen the same happen in Helsinki over the past 10 years,” he said, “where more than 20 teams who were specialized in peer activities for migrants and refugees no longer exist.”
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According to the Futsal Club Persia source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the problems started when when a referee called Adnan I. refused to ref a game when the gym football team played in second division.
“The feeling was mutual [we didn’t want him to ref our games and he didn’t want to ref our games],” said the Futsal Club Persia source. “The Turku branch of the Finnish Football Federation made an agreement that this referee would not ref our games but he was present at the one we walked out in protest.”
The Futsal Club Persia source said that the players of the team were fed up with this type of policy [by the Finnish Football Federation] and that the team no longer exists since it has disbanded.
“One of our players has transferred over to TPK team futsal league and a few other are playing for second division [teams],” the source said.
Thibault said that it wasn’t the first time when a migrant football team has run into problems with the Finnish Football Federation.
“FC Nations United in Turku had been awarded the multicultural integration award by the city of Turku, only to run into trouble with the referee association of Turku a few weeks later,” he continued. “We will suffer the consequences for a long time. Now in Turku we will see the same happen all over again.”
Thibault said that Liikkukaa – Sports for All have had good results when there is dialogue between all parties concerned.
“Such efforts can be seen in Finnish Football Federation statistics, where the number of red and yellow cards for the team in question had fallen substantially immediately after we arranged round tables [to resolve differences],” he said. “We would much prefer the Football Federation to engage in dialog before taking disciplinary measures. At least FC Persia had informed them in time about their problems [with referees] and there were also other signs that were loud and clear.”