Ykkönen latest

IFK Mariehamn AC Oulu 0 – 0
VPS FC Lahti 1 – 0
TamU 13 29
MyPa 13 22
FC Haka 12 21
TPS 13 20
FC Honka 11 19
HJK 13 17
FF Jaro 11 15
VPS 14 15
FC KooTeePee 11 14
FC Lahti 12 14
FC Inter 12 13
FC Viikingit 11 11
AC Oulu 12 10
IFK Mariehamn 12 9

Veikkausliiga had two games and only one goal this weekend, anybody interested can watch the ‘highlights’ here. VPS pulled clear a little bit, and MIFK and Oulu now occupy the bottom two spots. Sometimes the relegation race makes a league more exciting, I don’t think that will be the case in Veikkausliiga 2007.

Much more interesting is the race to see who will replace them in Veikkausliiga. I was at Tammela to see TPV vs KuPs, a big game played in darkening skies under floodlights. I should probably try and limit myself to one ‘Tammela is great’ ramble per post, but it has to be said – this is a brilliant stadium, one that is exactly suited to Finnish football, and it looks brilliant under lights. Incidentally, the floodlights were purchased by Tim Rowe, who is now a Tampere United director.

KuPs started the brighter and looked the more likely to score. They have a bulldog of a centre forward who battered the TPV defence – looking at my programme I think he was called Miikka Oinonen, but I couldn’t be sure. Oinonen looks a bit slimmer in his picture on the KuPs website.

There was a big crowd of over 700 with a lot of KuPs fans present. This brought the best out of the old timers supporting TPV, and there was a decent atmosphere with plenty of shouting at the more reckless challenges that went in. There were a few, and credit must go to the referee for letting the game flow. Finnish refs are often pernickety and get annoyed at the strangest things, but Antti Munukka did a good job of letting both teams fight with just the right level of ‘edge’.

TPV scored early on, against the run of play frankly. After that they dominated the game for the middle 45 minutes or so, until they tired and KuPs came back into it and grabbed the equaliser to make it 1-1. KuPs looked like a professional team whereas TPV seemed more like a semi-pro club raising their game for a cup tie. TPV could have scored on several occasions, Makela spurning a one on one being the most wasteful incident. They probably don’t have quite enough to challenge for promotion, which is a shame as it’d be great to see Tampere derbies (or indeed any Veikkausliiga football at all) at Tammela. KuPs will certainly be there or thereabouts though, they have a good team and the fitness that will tell against the lesser teams.

That result kept KuPs top of the league, and RoPs began their summer home marathon with a 2-1 win against JJK that keeps them in touch and confident of success. Friend of FiF Jon Burklo gives his view here.

Here are the standings:

KuPS 11 6 5 0 23 – 8 23
PK-35 11 7 2 2 21 – 9 23
JJK 11 6 3 2 21 – 9 21
RoPS 11 6 3 2 19 – 14 21
TPV 11 5 4 2 17 – 13 19
TP-47 11 4 4 3 16 – 12 16
Atlantis 10 4 2 4 11 – 12 14
VIFK 11 3 4 4 9 – 16 13
PP-70 11 3 3 5 12 – 19 12
KPV 11 2 6 3 9 – 16 12
GBK 11 3 1 7 12 – 20 10
FC Hämeenlinna 10 2 2 6 9 – 14 8
JIPPO 11 1 4 6 10 – 20 7
Klubi-04 11 1 3 7 10 – 17 6

Jyrki Heliskoski has been doing his bit for the national side again, moaning about foreigners in the league. I can’t really understand his view, if all Finnish footballers stayed in Finland he’d have a pretty crappy team. I wish more English players would play abroad, they might learn to pass to a team mate then. But then sport makes even the most liberal of commentators into nationalists, as my fellow FiF contributor Aapo demonstrates….

I noticed in this week’s Veikkaaja more Pasi Rautiainen speculation, including this time the assertion that TVMK and Levadia Tallinn are ‘Russian clubs’. I thought I’d check this out, and my friend at Postimees told me ‘Russian clubs play in the Russian league, and Rautiainen will stay at FC Flora’. I’m sure it’s a good story to do field work and ‘research’ on, but really.

EDIT-TVMK and Levadia both started with a majority of Russians, but both now have a mix of players. Estonian football doesn’t really have mass appeal in the same way as it does in other countries, so a definite cultural link is difficult to define. most games get less than a thousand people, which doesn’t set the pulse racing quite like rioting over a statue.

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13 Responses

  1. But then sport makes even the most liberal of commentators into nationalists, as my fellow FiF contributor Aapo demonstrates….

    Vittuileksä?

    I did vote for Rafael. I promise.

    Why do you care for English players and their passing ability in the first place, btw? And weren’t they British?

  2. I’m referring to your opinions on Slovakians in SM Liiga.

    Of course I want English players to move abroad and get better, those that succeed in another country are better for it and that makes my national team less of a crushing, horrific embarrassment.

  3. Well, I meant that you can’t really disregard nationality in sport if you e.g. refer to them as English, and not as British..

    What comes to my opinions on foreign player quota in SM-Liiga then, yep, I do find it legitimate. One thing what makes sport different from other forms of business is the way it can create sense of togetherness and social inclusion, and seeing on the ice/pitch boys who were born in your city and who have played with every junior cohort before making it to the first team somehow adds to this side of things.

    If a club is supported by the taxpayer, then this is also something it owes to the local community.

  4. Well, I agree with you here. I just find it jars slightly with your uncompromisingly liberal stance on almost every other economic question. Finland was flouting EU law for more than ten years, and I wouldn’t like that if I was a Czech hockey player. If there are limits to freedom of movement they should be formalised, not some private agreement to ignore the law.

    I’m not sure about your tax paying arguments, though. Finnish clubs will always have Finnish players, and if they’re not good enough they’ll have to do something else or drop down to Mestis. That’s positive, surely? It just means the home town boys have to be that bit better.

    Foreign influence in English football has been extremely positive, just as players who have been successful abroad have come back and improved the game no end.

    Ice hockey is a different kettle of fish given the lopsided nature of the market for players, but protection based on nationality is not really defensible given that workers are free to move throughout the EU.

    I was watching this video tonight, and it is striking how few foreigners there are playing. But then, those players didn’t just have the nationality restrictions, they also had no freedom of contract and were treated pretty much like vassals by their employers. If the law isn’t right it should be made better, not just ignored.

    And yes, this is influenced by the fact that the British government has implemented this to the letter, as it usually does with EU legislation.

  5. uncompromisingly liberal stance on almost every other economic question

    I support conscription, I love our new smoking law and I for instance find Alko’s monopoly perfectly legitimate, no matter how inconvenient for myself. The world is full of market failures, and we just have to debate which of them are worth intervening. Sport may be considered one, if you ask me.

    Foreign influence in English football has been extremely positive, just as players who have been successful abroad have come back and improved the game no end.

    Absolutely. It’s great to see Finnish players moving abroad and foreign players moving to Finland. It’s mostly a win-win, and the logic behind it is true generally in every other area of life. New ideas and skills are good for you.

    As for hockey, I think 5-7 foreigners per team is not too much. Ten would be. The current quota is five – I wouldn’t awfully mind to see it abolished, but personally I prefer it as it is.

    It does have its clash with Community Law but then again: if the EU citizens were given their exemption, it would discriminate against Russians, North Americans and Albanians. I wouldn’t like that.

    protection based on nationality is not really defensible given that workers are free to move throughout the EU

    No, they aren’t. Latvian workers can’t move freely to Germany, as can’t Romanians and Bulgarians to Britain. A Danish physician can’t freely open a clinic in France. All those restrictions are legal but their fairness is – again – up to debating.

    If the law isn’t right it should be made better, not just ignored.

    Ok. I’m slightly surprised by your sudden boosts of Europhilia and legal formalism, but will e-mail Kalervo Kummola that he should give Barroso a ring and ask for a better law.

    Snus is illegal throughout the EU, bar Sweden, yet I still think that my snus using friends are morally entitled to chew it. It’s a stupid, irrational law that cannot be changed, so I think those harmed by it should by all means ignore it.

  6. Ah, that’s a different issue. I’m pretty keen on freedom of movement-I’d find it very difficult not to be given my current job and future plans. And as I pointed out, the lopsided effects of it in Britain are mostly caused by others welching on their commitments and forcing all workers from the new members to head for the UK and Ireland rather than a more logical destination. Which is great for Britain in the long run, but causes wage depression and pressure on public services in the short term.

    My point about changing the law is that this has been on the agenda for years and in most countries the law has been enforced-it’s not fair for one country to just disregard it.

    It’s not europhilia exactly, but things do need to change and there are various ways to do it. UEFA has been negotiating with the EU on this for years with no success, and I find it a bit weird that SM Liiga just decided to ignore it, and got away with it for so long.

  7. Mind you, it’s your and my freedom of movement – the downside is the fact that it does make the EU a sort of fortress. I have a bunch of Serbian/Georgian/Azerbaijanian friends who are young, international and most willing to travel but just can’t because visa practices within the Schengen are so strict.

    it’s not fair for one country to just disregard it.

    Try to google EU + press + releases community + law + implementation + commission + act + sanctions etc. and you might soon find out that a Finnish hockey cocoon probably isn’t the most heinous juridical breakaway in this fine political union.

    UEFA has been negotiating with the EU on this for years with no success, and I find it a bit weird that SM Liiga just decided to ignore it, and got away with it for so long.

    Now here’s a simple answer. There has been no case. If there would be a case, SM-Liiga would lose, but so far no player has tried them in court.

    That’s how laws usually work.

  8. Now you’re getting even more internationalist. I agree with you that home town boys are good for the team and that Azeris should have more freedom of movement, so why are we arguing about national boundaries?

    Finns are just as mercenary as foreigners, they play for money and generally go to the highest bidder. A much better way is to have a quota of players who came through the youth system, as UEFA have been arguing for. Protecting mediocrity benefits nobody.

    Your second point surprises me. I know that other countries do it too, but that’s no excuse. Finns are not slow to enforce their rights on others, just google Jyrki Lehtonen.

    And your third….. my whole point is that there HAS been a case, the Bosman case, and SM Liiga has ignored it.

    Or are you arguing that all 27 countries should have their own test cases before applying EU legislation?

  9. Btw, I’m pretty sure the Kolpak ruling has implications for many non-EU nationalities, but I’m not sure if Finnish institutions have taken much notice of it.

  10. I don’t know who the fuck is Kolpak or what he has to do with Finnish institutions, but what I do know is that here you can watch some foreign males playing ball games.

  11. Forgot the lyrics:

    I’d say it was the right time
    To walk away
    When dreaming takes you nowhere
    It’s time to play
    Bodies working overtime
    Your money don’t matter
    The clock keeps ticking
    When someone’s on your mind

    I’m moving in slow motion
    Feels so good
    It’s a strange anticipation
    Knock, knock, knocking on wood
    Bodies working overtime
    Man against man
    And all that ever matters
    Is baby who’s ahead in the game
    Funny but it’s always the same

    [Chorus]
    Playing, playing with the boys
    Playing, playing with the boys
    After chasing sunsets
    One of life’s simple joys
    Is playing with the boys

    Said it was the wrong thing
    For me to do
    I said it’s just a boys’ game
    Girls play too
    My heart is working overtime
    In this kind of game
    Someone gets hurt
    I’m afraid that someone is me
    If you want to find me, I’ll be
    Playing with the boys

  12. Kolpak is a Slovakian handball player plying his trade in Germany who took his employers to court and thereby caused a revolution in English cricket. This has led to a better than expected season for Yorkshire, so I’m not complaining, but it does rather demonstrate that litigation is not necessary in evry single league of every single sport before workers can assert their rights.

    And I think we can all agree that those foreign males and their ball games are an excellent example of what SM liiga thinks will happen to their hockey if they let more foreigners in….

  13. Yeah, exactly. The yanks and canucks play dirty hockey. They check from behind and are too rough.

    Playing, playing with the boys
    Playing, playing with the boys
    After chasing sunsets
    One of life’s simple joys
    Is playing with the boys

    I don’t want to be the moth around your fire
    I don’t want to be obsessed by your desire
    I’m ready, I’m leaving
    I’ve seen enough
    I’ve got to go
    You play too rough

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