• Hanna VehmasEmail author
  • Pasi Koski
  • Kati Lehtonen
Part of the Sports Economics, Management and Policy book series (SEMP, volume 15)


The voluntary sports sector is the core of the sports system in Finland. Typically sports volunteers are coaches and active parents in sports clubs or volunteers in sports events. The importance of nonprofit sports clubs dates back to the mid-1800s when the first sports clubs were founded in Finland. The foundation of the strong voluntary civic sector stems from the historical background in which sports club formation was closely connected to temperance, labor, and youth movements of the independence seeking society. Nowadays there are nearly 10,000 sports clubs, most of them nonprofit registered associations, and hundreds of sports events organized annually in which an estimated half a million Finns work voluntarily. The future challenges of sports volunteering in Finland relate to the demographic changes and economic fluctuations of the society and individualistic motives of the citizens.


  1. Andersen, S. S., & Ronglan, L. T. (2012). Elite sports in Nordic countries: Perspectives and challenges. In S. S. Andersen & L. T. Ronglan (Eds.), Nordic elite sport, same ambitions – different tracks (pp. 11–24). Norway: Universitetsforlaget.Google Scholar
  2. Berg, P., & Myllyniemi, S. (2013). Nuoria liikkeellä! Nuorten vapaa-aikatutkimus 2013 [Young people on the go! Study of young people’s leisure activities 2013]. Ministry of Education and Culture, National Sports Council, Finnish Youth Research Network & Advisory Council for Youth Affairs.Google Scholar
  3. Bergsgard, N. A., & Rommetvedt, H. (2006). Sport and politics. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 41(1), 7–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. European Commission. (2014). Sport and physical activity. Special Eurobarometer 412 / Wave EB80.2 – TNS Opinion & Social. Brussels.Google Scholar
  5. European Commission. (2018). Sport and physical activity. Special Eurobarometer 472 – Wave EB88.4 – TNS opinion & social. Brussels.Google Scholar
  6. European Youth Games. (2009). European Youth Olympic Festival. Accessed 06.02.2018
  7. Figure Skating. (2017). Taitoluistelun MM-kisat toivat 2,9 miljoonan tuloksen [The Figure Skating World Cup results in 2.9 million]. Accessed 06.02.2018.
  8. Gymnastic: Gymnaestrada. (2015). Tapahtumatutkimus. [Event research]. In Sponsor Insight Finland and States Sports Council (Ed.), Publications of States Sport Council 2015:6.Google Scholar
  9. Habermas, J. (1979). Communication and evolution of society. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  10. Hämäläinen, H. (2016). Case Forssan Suviilta: Cohesion as a key element in building a voluntary sport event organization. Master’s Thesis. University of Jyväskylä.Google Scholar
  11. Heikkala, J. (2009). Sports Governance in Finland. Helsinki: Finnish Sports Federation.Google Scholar
  12. Heinonen, K., & Vesanen, B. (2012). Vapaaehtoistyö urheilutapahtumassa. Case Jääkiekon MM-kilpailut 2012. [Voluntary work in sport event. Case Ice-hockey World Championships 2012]. Lahden ammattikorkeakoulu, opinnäytetyö.Google Scholar
  13. Itkonen, H. (2000). Sport and civil society sociological perspectives. Joensuu: Karelian Institute of the University of Joensuu.Google Scholar
  14. Jukola. (2018). Orienteering: Jukola Orienteering Relay. Accessed 06.02.2018
  15. Karreinen, L., Halonen, M., & Tennilä, M. (Eds.). (2010). 10 askelta parempaan vapaaehtoistoimintaan [10 steps to better voluntary activity]: Visio 2010.Google Scholar
  16. Koski, P. (2000). Liikunta kansalaisaktiivisuutena [Sport as civic activity]. In H. Itkonen, J. Heikkala, K. Ilmanen, & P. Koski (Eds.), Liikunnan kansalaistoiminta - muutokset, merkitykset ja reunaehdot [Civic activities in sport - changes, meaning and bounrary conditions]. Liikuntatieteellisen seuran julkaisuja nro 152 (pp. 40–55). Helsinki: Liikuntatieteellinen seura.Google Scholar
  17. Koski, P. (2009). Social capital and sports clubs. In S. Kokko, P. Koski, J. Savola, M. Alen, & P. Oja (Eds.), The Guidelines for sports club for health (SCforH) programs (pp. 32–36). Helsinki: TAFISA, HEPA Europa, Finnish Sport for All Association.Google Scholar
  18. Koski, P. (2012). Finnish sports club as a mirror of society. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 4(2), 257–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Koski, P. (2013). Liikunta- ja urheiluseuroja koskeva tietopohja ja sen kehittäminen.[Basic information of sports clubs and its development]. In Valtion liikuntaneuvosto (Ed.), Perustietoja liikunnan kansalaistoiminnasta Suomessa (pp. 18–37). Helsinki: Valtion liikuntaneuvosto.Google Scholar
  20. Koski, P., Itkonen, H., K., L., & Vehmas, H. (2015). Sport clubs in Finland. In C. Breuer, R. Hoekman, S. Nagel, & H. Van der Werff (Eds.), Sport clubs in Europe (pp. 147–160). Cham (ZG): Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Koski, P., & Mäenpää, P. (2018). Suomalaiset liikunta- ja urheiluseurat muutoksessa 1986−2016. [Finnish sports clubs in change 1986–2016].Google Scholar
  22. Kuntaliitto. (2017). [Localfinland]. . Accessed 06.02.2018Google Scholar
  23. Laine, A. (2017). Finland: The importance of the private sport sector has increased in the 2000s. In A. Laine & H. Vehmas (Eds.), The private sport sector in Europe. A cross-national comparative perspective (pp. 107–124). Cham (ZG): Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Laine, A., & Vehmas, H. (2017a). Getting a grip on the private sport sector in Europe. In A. Laine & H. Vehmas (Eds.), The private sport sector in Europe. A cross-national comparative perspective (pp. 1–16). Cham (ZG): Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Laine, A., & Vehmas, H. (2017b). Development, current situation and future prospects of the private sport sector in Europe. In A. Laine & H. Vehmas (Eds.), The private sport sector in Europe. A cross-national comparative perspective (pp. 343–354). Cham (ZG): Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lehtinen, S. (1997). Vapaaehtoistoiminta - Kasvava Voimavara? Näkökulmia Ammattityöhön. [Voluntary activity - a growing resource? Approaches to Professional work]. Helsinki: Kansalaisareena ry.Google Scholar
  27. Lehtonen, K., & Hakonen, H. (2013). Basic information on civic activity in Finnish sports: Participation and volunteer work in sports clubs. English Summary: LINET research unit.Google Scholar
  28. Lith, P. (2013). Urheilu- ja liikuntaklusteri. Raportti liikuntapalveluiden kysynnästä ja tarjonnasta, yritystoiminnasta ja yritysten taloudellisesta asemasta [Sports and exercise cluster. The report on supply and demand of sports services, sports business, and financial position of the companies]. Ilmiöselvitys 5/2013. Verohallinto. Harmaan talouden selvitysyksikkö.Google Scholar
  29. Ministry of Education and Culture. (2017). . Accessed 06.02.2018Google Scholar
  30. Mononen, K., Blomqvist, M., Koski, P., & Kokko, S. (2016). Urheilu ja seuraharrastaminen. [Sports club participation]. In S. Kokko & A. Mehtälä (Eds.), Lasten ja nuorten liikuntakäyttäytyminen Suomessa. LIITU-tutkimuksen tuloksia 2016 (pp. 27–35). Helsinki: Valtion Liikuntaneuvosto.Google Scholar
  31. Mykkänen-Hänninen, R. (2007). Vapaaehtoistyön Rajapinnoilla. [At the interfaces of Voluntary work]. Helsinki: University Press.Google Scholar
  32. National Sport Survey. (2010). Voluntary work. Finnish Sports Federation.Google Scholar
  33. Norberg, J. R. (2011). A contract reconsidered? Changes in the Swedish state’s relation to the sports movement. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 3(3), 311–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Nylund, M., & Young, A. B. (Eds.). (2005). Vapaaehtoistoiminta - anti, arvot ja osallisuus. [Voluntary activity - offering, values and participation]. Tampere: Vastapaino.Google Scholar
  35. Rönkä, O. (2012). 2 000 vapaaehtoista mahdollistavat Helsingin EM-kisat [2,000 volunteers make possible the Helsinki World Championships]. Accessed 06.02.2018Google Scholar
  36. Sports Marketing Intelligence. (2017). GSI Event Study- FIS Nordic World Championships 2017. Sportcal Global Communications LTD,.Google Scholar
  37. Statistics Finland. (2011). Gross domestic product grew up by 3.1 per cent in 2010. Accessed 02.09.2017.
  38. Sports Act. (2015). Accessed 10.1.2018.
  39. Tammivaara, A. (2018). General Secratary of Eurobasket. Accessed 05.02.2018.
  40. Unruh, D. R. (1979). Characteristics and types of participation in social worlds. Symbolic interaction, 2(2), 115–130. Scholar
  41. Vasara, E. (2004). Valtion liikuntahallinnon historia. [States´ sport governments history]. In Liikuntatieteellisen Seuran julkaisu nro 157. Tampere: Tammer Paino Oy.Google Scholar
  42. Vehmas, H., & Ilmanen, K. (2013). Finland. In K. Hallmann & K. Petry (Eds.), Comparative sport development. Systems, participation and public policy (pp. 47–59). Cologne: Springer.Google Scholar
  43. Vehmas, H., & Ilmanen, K. (2017). Finland: From steering to the evaluation of effectiveness. In J. Scheerder, A. Willem, & E. Claes (Eds.), Sport policy systems and sport federations. A cross-national perspective (pp. 113–134). London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland
  2. 2.University of TurkuTurkuFinland
  3. 3.LIKES Research CenterJyväskyläFinland

Personalised recommendations