Decision information: The City of Helsinki will claim back the 2022 grant from Elise Gymnastics ry

The grant is claimed back because the club has not complied with Helsinki’s grant terms and conditions. A review carried out afterwards indicates that the club has not complied with the grant terms and conditions. The decision sends the message that Helsinki takes the observance of ethical principles seriously and breaching them has consequences. However, the club has taken measures to ensure ethical operations, so the city will grant the club a grant for 2023.
Ilmakuva Helsingistä
Photo: Jussi Hellsten

Helsinki’s Sports Sub-committee decided on its meeting on Thursday, 12 October(Link leads to external service) that it will claim back the 2022 operating grant from Elise Gymnastics ry. The total amount of the grant is EUR 98,591. A vote was carried out on the basis of a counterproposal to the proposal. The original proposal won 6–2 (absent: 1).
The terms and conditions of Helsinki’s operating grants for sports and sports facility usage grants dictate that the recipient of the grant shall comply with good governance and the Fair Play ethical principles for the sports community. The Fair Play principles include an educational dimension, the equal opportunity of everyone to participate in sports as well as the promotion of health, safety and wellbeing.

The decision is related to the disciplinary measures issued to a head coach at Elise Gymnastics. The Finnish Gymnastics Federation’s disciplinary committee issued the head coach a mild disciplinary measure in January 2023, i.e., a remark or warning for the coaching methods used in coaching the national team. Because a coach at a club that has received a grant from the city was issued disciplinary measures, as the grantor of the grant, Helsinki started an independent examination of whether the club has complied with the city’s grant terms and conditions. 

On the basis of the examination and the decision of the Finnish Gymnastics Federation’s disciplinary committee, the city assesses that the club has not taken the suspicions regarding its coaches seriously, and the club has not had operating instructions and models required by the ethical principles for a situation in which the person acting inappropriately is a coach or another official of the club. Once the club became aware of the suspicion regarding its coaches, it should have taken it seriously and taken immediate concrete action to reveal any activities potentially in violation of the ethical principles.

“Helsinki is responsible for all children and young people who utilise the services of clubs that the city assists. Everyone is entitled to safe hobbies where they do not need to worry about inappropriate treatment. If Helsinki did not claim back the grants, it would send the wrong signal to all sports operators. I hope that this also serves as a message that the City of Helsinki is serious about compliance with the ethical principles, and breaching them will lead to consequences,” says Sports Director Tarja Loikkanen from the City of Helsinki.

Claiming back the grant is not a disciplinary measure; it relates to the fact that the grant terms and conditions were not complied with.

Grants for 2023 will be awarded

The Sports Sub-committee’s agenda for its August 2023 meeting originally included a proposal for declining Elise Gymnastics’s application for the 2023 sports operating grant and sports facility usage grant. However, the club gave Helsinki a comprehensive review of how it will ensure ethical and safe operations for children and young people. On the basis of the review, Helsinki considers Elise Gymnastics ry to have taken sufficient measures to make sure its operations comply with the ethical principles for the sports community and, therefore, the grant terms and conditions. Elise Gymnastics will be granted EUR 25,747 of operating grant and EUR 149,268 of sports facility usage grant.

This is not the first time that the Sports Sub-committee has had to claim back grants. For example in 2020, the Sports Sub-committee claimed back grants from Helsingfors Skridskoklubb HSK, because the club breached the Fair Play principles set out in the grant decision.

The meeting’s decision information and information regarding the members of the Sports Sub-committee: leads to external service)