Top Referees Issue Ultimatum Over Aasipaita Committee’s Abuse of Power

Top Referees Issue Ultimatum Over Aasipaita Committee’s Abuse of Power

In Finland, a significant development emerged in the country’s football scene. The referees of the top football leagues have issued an ultimatum to the Football Association. This significant step was taken late on Wednesday evening, indicating the seriousness of the issue at hand.

The Premier Referee Club, during its Wednesday meeting, expressed its strong disapproval of having individuals suspected of misconduct participate as trainers in the upcoming weekend referee course. They are so adamant about this that they are even threatening to withdraw from the training event, slated to start on Friday, if their demands are not met.

In an interesting parallel, the National League Referee Association has also conducted a survey on the same topic, just like the Premier League Referee Club. This shows the level of concern across different leagues and clubs.

The Premier Referee Club, in particular, is against referee coach Matthias Gestranius and the chairman Petteri Kari, who holds a position of trust in the referee committee, participating in the courses as trainers.

The referees have anonymously shared the results of their surveys, indicating their fear of possible repercussions if they openly comment on the matter.

This controversy came into the limelight about two weeks ago, as reported by Helsingin Sanomat. Numerous interviewees claimed that Gestranius and Kari were guilty of inappropriate behavior and abuse of power in their respective positions.

Adding to the complexity of the issue, the interviewees also shared their suspicions about the former head referee of the Football Association, Jouni Hyytä, regarding his inappropriate activities. Hyytia is currently serving as a referee observer and is heading the Palloliitto’s VAR project.

The trio, in question, has been mockingly referred to as the Donkey Shirt Committee behind their backs. This is due to their previous practice of ordering a donkey shirt for referees who had committed some mistake.

The Premier Referee Club decided on its ultimatum on Wednesday, after the results of a membership survey conducted last week were shared with the members.

The survey results were overwhelmingly against Gestranius and Kari, with 50 members of the Premier Referee Club participating in the survey.

Three-quarters of the survey respondents expressed their lack of trust in the referee committee and its chairman Kari, with 69 percent opining that the chairman should not attend the courses.

Just over half of the respondents believe that referee coach Gestranius is not trustworthy, and 56 percent believe that he should not attend the courses.

The majority of respondents expressed confidence in the referee function and the head referee of the Football Association. However, it was clear from the survey that the dissatisfaction is specifically directed at Gestranius and Kari.

At the culmination of Wednesday night’s meeting, the association’s members unanimously decided to propose to the Finnish Football Federation that Gestranius and Kari should refrain from participating in the refereeing courses as trainers, at least for now.

The National League’s referees’ association also conducted a survey last week, which mirrored the results of the Premier Referee’s Club survey, with 18 National League referees participating.

In this survey, 67 percent of the respondents expressed their mistrust in Gestranius, while 78 percent did not trust Kari. The majority also felt that the referee committee did not enjoy their confidence.

Last week, the Palloliitto’s internal audit presented a report on its investigation to the Palloliitto’s board. The audit had access to the Premier Referee Club’s survey results and had consulted numerous referees in confidence.

According to editorial information, the internal audit has suggested measures to the board of the Football Association. One known proposal includes making personnel changes to resolve the ongoing conflicts.

Last week, the board of the Swedish Football Association formed a group to find out what measures should be taken to resolve the conflicts among the referees.

After the internal audit report was handed over, the head referee of the Finnish Football Association, Johan Holmqvist, commented on the allegations of improper activity for the first time.

“Palloliitto cannot take a position on the serious accusations presented until the issues have been resolved after consulting the various parties,” Holmqvist wrote in his email to the referees.