Showing posts with label Tero Koskela. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tero Koskela. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tulos: Adieu, Adu and other things you may have missed

The latest update on what's been going on in Finnish football - it's been a busy fortnight or so.

Finland's crucial Euro 2016 qualifier against Northern Ireland took place on Sunday in Belfast - unfortunately it ended in a 2-1 defeat, pretty much ending any hopes of qualification for next summer's tournament in France. Two goals from Kyle Lafferty were the difference, while an injury-time consolation from sub Berat Sadik made no difference. It was an inept performance filled with errors and minimal threat posed. The 'Mixu Out' brigade are in full swing, even the FA's line that he will remain in place until the end of qualifying appears to be very much 'by-the-numbers'. The Hungary match in June could be interesting...

The big transfer news was a rather large surprise - former United States international Freddy Adu signed for KuPS! Yep, that's the same Freddy Adu who was billed as the "next Pele" scoring an MLS goal for DC United aged 14. Since then, it's all been a little sad, KuPS are now his eleventh club following spells in Brazil, Greece, Turkey and Serbia. Needless to say, my friends in Kuopio are expecting plenty of interest and shopping, with a press conference this Thursday set to be quite the party. I've been told that Freddy chose Finland in order to escape the circus and concentrate on football...

Image via

Atletico Malmi's Suomen Cup fairytale ended at the hands of FC Lahti in round five. The team who finished third in last season's top division won 2-0 with goals in the first half, and while they dominated the stats, they were resisted further goals. Malmi can now concentrate on their Kolmonen season, will another promotion be on the cards?

Malmi and Lahti players join together

Finland U21s played twice last weekend, winning matches against Kazahkstan (3-0) and Luxembourg (4-1). FC Inter striker Vahid Hambo scored in both games.

I did an interview with Tero Koskela of the Finnish Player's Union (JPY), where we talked about various issues facing footballers along with the role of the organisation. My next interview is with Veikkausliiga marketing executive Risto Oksanen, which will be online in the next week or so.

Finland midfielder Tim Sparv featured in an article by Dutch journalists about the innovative management behind his club FC Midtjylland. The club are owned by Matthew Benham, who also owns English club Brentford. The system of player recruitment is based on statistics, but Sparv was highlighted as the "no-stats all star" due to his reading of the game.

As expected, Finland captain Niklas Moisander signed a pre-contract with Serie A club Sampdoria. While it had been rumoured for some time, it was still big news, although the announcement got more interest due to the eccentric club president Massimo Ferrero in full swing...

Other things probably happened but I can't remember... I did book flights to Finland in June, at the moment looking at matches with Atletico Malmi, SJK, KuPS, Union Plaani and possibly HIFK.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Interview with JPY's Tero Koskela

The latest interview for ETS is with Tero Koskela, who works for the Finnish player's union JPY (Jalkapallon Pelaajayhdistys). The work that the JPY do is crucial to maintain confidence and the integrity of the sport in Finland, and they do a fine job of it. 

What is your role with the JPY? 
Well, my title is an account manager but I'm doing everything what is needed to do in our small organisation. We only have two full time employees so we have a lots of tasks to do and of course we try to serve all of our 1200 members. At the moment, I'm focusing more on meeting and educating players. For us it is important to physically be where the players are, in the locker room. When they let us to come to their “holy place”, we know we have earned their trust.

What are the challenges that the JPY now and in the future? 
For our organization, we should get one or two employees more but that´s more of an economic issue. When it comes to the individuals (players) we need be active in open discussion about what kind of status the professional players have in our society. Our players doesn’t earn big money so they should have the same employee benefits that normal workers have. We still have too many players whose insurance doesn’t cover much if a bad injury happens.

The JPY appear to be very forward thinking with the match fixing app, the player CV database etc. Are there many more projects in the pipeline?
Of course we are open to any new ideas, but at the moment implementing these projects to our members takes big part of our time.

SJK's Juho Lähde talks about the match-fixing app

In England there is a lot of talk about young players earning big money and not perhaps having the hunger to succeed that those from Africa or South America - do you see changes in motivation for young Finns?
Big money is really not a big problem for young Finns. Earnings are often below the poverty line so being a footballer it is not very desired profession. At the same time, we have very high level of school education which ensures that everyone could retrain for another profession. We need to make our domestic football more interesting so that we do not lose our young talents to foreign leagues.

What support services do the JPY provide to foreign players moving to Finland?
We are giving them the Welcome to Finland magazine, where they can read some important facts in our culture and how the things are done here in Finland. We have a good relationship with some foreign players who have been here for a number of years and they are ready to help us if needed.

The Welcome to Finland magazine

The FIFPro tournaments in Oslo provide an excellent opportunity for free agents to try to earn new deals - do you get a lot of players trying to get involved?
In this economic climate it has become a lot more interesting for free agents. Teams in Finland often drag out their contract negotiations to sign players who participate in these FIFPro tournaments. This is one of the important services we need to develop, to help our unemployed players to find a club and give them chance to train professionally.  

After the match-fixing problems at RoPS in the past, and the large betting interest in Finnish football, has the JPY app made a big difference?
Awareness around the match-fixing issue is the best thing that has happened. We have been able to give players a thorough education through this application and to discuss openly about the risks surrounding match fixing. 
With MYPA and Honka having such public financial problems, what could clubs do differently/better to support players? 
These two cases have similar problems. The players have been unaware of the situation because the club´s internal communications have been very poor. Telling the truth might not have saved the clubs, but it could have helped the players prepare for what is coming and maybe give them more time to change their plans.

Various Finnish clubs have been working with JYP to promote anti-racism and anti-discrimination campaigns - which countries do you think have done well with this? 
In Scandinavia, Denmark and Norway have done a lot of really good work to promote this issue. I also have a feeling that in England, they do quite a lot of work through the Show Racism the Red Card campaign. I haven’t met any player who doesn’t support this. 

JJK players show racism the red card last week

Some players I've met talk passionately about education and having a qualification to "fall back on" - is this a culture that's promoted to young players?
This is very important for our players. Players can’t live on their savings when they finish their career, if they've been playing in a big football country that´s a totally different situation. I don’t think it's necessary for a young player whose goal is to play abroad but when they see that the Finnish Premier League is the highest level where they are playing, then it's important to have a Plan B.


Many thanks again to Tero for his answers. You can follow the JPY on Twitter and Facebook, while Tero is also on Twitter here.