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International experts in the prevention of the manipulation of sports competitions will be training Finnish police officers and prosecutors in Helsinki this week.

Leo-Pekka Tähti is the first Finnish Paralympian to receive the Athlete of the Year award at the Sports Gala on January 17, 2017. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

The aim of the training is to improve the authorities’ competence to investigate and prosecute suspected crimes related to the manipulation of sports competitions. The training complies with the Council of Europe Convention against the manipulation of sports competitions and the related guidelines.

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“This training enables us to improve our national skills to prevent the manipulation of sports competitions. Authorities and sports require tight co-operation. Together we can provide athletes with the support they need and protect them from the manipulation of sports competitions,” says Jouko Ikonen, the chief investigative officer of FINCIS, in a statement.

The Finnish Center for Integrity in Sports FINCIS is involved in Integrisport Erasmus+, a two-year (2019–2020) project on the prevention of the manipulation of sports competitions funded by the EU. Athletes representing the countries participating in the project have released a video where they object to the manipulation of sports competitions.

In this video, Finnish athletes are represented by the captain of the national ice hockey team Jenni Hiirikoski and Paralympian sprinter Leo-Pekka Tähti. Hiirikoski says that the manipulation of sports competitions ruins sports and destroys athletes’ careers.

As for Tähti, he expresses his support for the authorities in their battle against the manipulation of sports competitions. In return, he expects the authorities to support athletes when they need it.

 “Integrisport Erasmus+ has been established to provide help law enforcement and judiciaries to have in-depth knowledge on sports manipulation and how to fight against it. The project also aims to provide a unique opportunity for law enforcement participants to meet with the representatives of athletes, sport movement and the betting world and to understand the different points of view but mutual aim to fight against the manipulation of sports competitions.

It is a unique project as it addresses the key stakeholder that enforces all the regulations and laws in the protection of sport integrity,“ says Norbert Rubicsek, the project manager of Integrisport Erasmus+.

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