The role of top-level sport in Finland : a governmental perspective of the present status and future trends
Top-level sports has been through its existance a part of Finnish society which creates social content. It has its own place in a nation’s history and culture. It has promoted national identity among Finnish people. This study examines the role and different faces of Finnish top-level sports during of its exisctance from early 1900s until today. In Today’s top-level sports there are many interesting aspects from which professionalism rises the topmost. From a governmental perspective the concept of top-level sport refers to sporting events and athletes who already represent their countries or aim at international success and recognition. Moreover such sports and athletes are also publicly subsidised. Today’s professionalised sport is viewed as generating both economic and social value for society, and it also has clear political value for the Finnish government. However, professionalised sport has also raised new ethical and moral questions which have directed government’s participation in top-level sport. In addition to the main research guestion, the second aim is to research future guidelines of top-level sport from governmental viewpoint and research what the Finnish government’s motives to subsidise top-level sport might be. The data has been collected from six top-level sports strategy documents published by Finnish government and analysed with discourse analysing method. Results indicate that today’s top level sport is more professionalised, however differentied. Organisations, clubs and athletes in top-level sport are aiming for more professional activity, however the increased commercialisation sets differenent resources for different athletes and events. The most popular events have more extensive presense and they receive larger global attention for both media and spectatorwise. Indeed, the Finnish government is in front of the big questions when making holistic strategies of top-level sport. The focus points for the future will be in support and education of athletes’ training and life-management. There is a group founded for these questions; the Finnish Elite Sport Development Group which aims to solve and develop Finnish top-level sport and secure success in future. Hence, the government is also supporting top-level sport financially by athlete, event and organisation subsidies as well as financing construction of sport facilities. In conclusion the Finnish government sees the value of top-level sport for the nation in several dimensions and it will be supported and developed as a part of Finnish sport culture. ...
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