The Finnish Student Sports Federation (OLL): After the corona pandemic, student sports needs money, no cuts

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The General Assembly of the Finnish Student Sports Federation (OLL) demands that higher education institutions secure the funding for sports services after the coronavirus crisis. The sports services contribute significantly to the physical and social well-being and coping of higher education students. Even small cuts can have a disproportionately big impact on small budgets.

“The National Sports Council’s report says that it’s important to support physical activity during a time of crisis, too. People who are less physically active and those of low socioeconomic status, such as students, need special support,” says Antti Pentikäinen, the outgoing President of OLL.

The Finnish higher education sports services provide opportunities to exercise for more than 250,000 students. However, the report by the National Sports Council mentioned above forgot the higher education sports services, which is why OLL carried out its own survey for them this autumn. According to the survey, no higher education sports service provider operated normally during the spring’s restrictions. Up to 45 percent of their activities came to a complete standstill.

OLL’s survey also highlights the importance of community. Although the transition to remote connections was reasonably smooth, you cannot feel the same sense of social togetherness remotely as when you play ball on regular time slots of the sport services.

As the number of users in the sports services continues to fall due to the coronavirus restrictions, the existing pressure in higher education institutions to make cuts poses a great risk to the funding for the services and to high-quality operations. However, a wide range of sports services promote the sense of community, health and coping of students – precisely those areas of well-being threatened by the coronavirus crisis.

“Making cuts in higher education sports would be costly to students' well-being and ability to work. Instead of cutting the funding, the Government has to allocate funds to these services, that is, special support which the rest of the sports sector has already received. This way, we can better promote well-being and a sense of community during the corona pandemic,” says Julia Tuuri, President of OLL for 2021.

The General Assembly of the Finnish Student Sports Federation (OLL) was held on 18–19 November. The Assembly was held remotely for the first time.

OLL President 2020 Antti Pentikäinen.

More information:

Antti Pentikäinen, OLL President, antti.pentikainen@oll.fi, tel. +358 44 780 0211

Julia Tuuri, OLL President 2021, julia.tuuri@helga.fi, +358 50 518 5657

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