Study: Homophobia and racism hinder young minority athletes from joining Finnish sports clubs

by , under Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

Helsingin Sanomat reported that homophobia and racism are two factors that hinder young minority athletes from joining a Finnish sports club, according to a study. If the story is true it is not only another indication that some Finns live tucked deep in the values of the previous century, but for this to be going on still today is shameful, self-defeating and above all unacceptable. 

Another factor that stops minorities from joining a sports club is cost.

Even if  discrimination is an obtacle in some sports clubs it is a reflection of our society as a whole and our acceptance by too many of these types of social ills.

Like any social ill, racism and homophobia are difficult but not impossible to show.  Even so, the study shows that prejudice and racism do not foster inclusion but fuel social exclusion.

What to do? When battling discrimination we have to first make a decision that we will actually challenge this social ill. Secondly, we must be persistent and patient because eradicating decades of near-unchallenged racism and homophobia in Finland will take many generations.

Despite the challenge, the sooner we begin the better for the sake of our future generations.

  1. Mary Mekko

    Does the “previous century” mean 1900-1999? That is one long stretch of change for old Finland, when girls were often excluded from sport way back. I agree, things were rough then for half of Finland’s population. Is it to this you are referring? Which unfairness are you referring to in Finland if not this gender discrimination?

    Perhaps these “minority” youth should take an example from the Finnish Women’s Lib movement: don’t wait for any dominating group (men or the natives of Finland) to block their aspirations. If kicking a ball around a field is their desire, and they have the money to pay their dues, then they must push for it, as the girls and women of Finland have pushed.

    Wait for rulers in power to give in, anywhere? Good luck!!!

    I see that it was Westerners who brought in sports programs for Afghani girls, because their males, young and old, wouldn’t allow girls and women to play sports. If it is so that even wonderful Afghanistan couldn’t allow half their own citizens to play sports, and that it took outsiders to push the programs (not just funding…) into their culture, then perhaps an outsider to Finland can push these poor minority girls of Somalia into a soccer club, instead of keeping them at home, unjustly.

    I am not quite clear on the concept, however, my dear Enrique, that kicking and running around with balls will advance anyone in this world. It is education that does it. The Chinese emigrating to USA don’t send their kids to soccer teams, they’re at music and language lessons in their free time, and studying extra hours of science and math after school.

    They are doing very well in the USA without joining any sports teams. Perhaps the Somalian girls of Finland should look to the Chinese in USA as a real example for the future: if they can dominate in the universities and good jobs later, the males will have to kowtow, those who wasted all their time at sports in their youth.

  2. D4R

    Mary Mekko, Why Are You Living In The States? Since You Seem Diligently against immigrants going to Finland, why don’t you come back to Finland, Why wont you stay in your country Finland? Do you think you own the world, that you can live wherever you like but will not permit immigrants living in your country? it doesnt work that way.

  3. BlandaUpp


    Mary Mekko is a fraud, she’s not Finnish at all. She’s admitted in previous threads that she’s in fact an Irish American. Somehow she developed an obsession with Finland and has this need to comment on issues she has no understanding of.

  4. Toni

    Akaro: “Finn clubs don’t want non-finns. ”

    Every club wants non-Finns. Even in 1980’s they wanted them.