Petteri Kari resigned from his position due to the discussion brought about by the Helsingin Sanomat article. Marco Casagrande, general secretary of the Swedish Football Association, opens up about what is happening to Mattias Gestranius and Jouni Hyytä.
Palloliitto, the umbrella organization of Finnish football, announced yesterday that its board has approved the chairman of the referee committee Petteri Karin resignation from the committee and from his role as chairman. Before this, the board of the Football Association had gathered on Sunday to deal with the referee scandal that emerged at the beginning of the year in its extraordinary meeting.
The uproar related to the three football referee bosses became public when Helsingin Sanomat reported in January, that the trio is accused of years of arbitrary behavior and abuse of power. In addition to the resigned Kari, the accusations have been directed Jouni Hyytää and Mattias Gestranius.
All three have worked in positions where they have had the power to decide on the progression of other referees’ careers and referee positions.
The other referees who spoke as sources for HS’s case told about the trio’s abuse of power, bullying, nepotism, discrimination, pressure to use alcohol and sexual harassment. According to the sources, the trio had created an inappropriate operating culture, which had driven the referees out of action.
General Secretary of the Football Association Marco Casagrande tells Urheilu that the association’s management has had a close discussion about the matter for two weeks.
– On Sunday, we decided on the guidelines for further measures, he formulates.
Kari resigned from her position, but what will happen to Hyytä and Gestranius, who work under the Balloliitto? Gestranius is the coach of the top referees of the Football Association and Hyytä has worked as a referee observer.
Hyitia will continue, Gestranius will be “guided and supported”
Casagrande begins by describing how the two’s affairs are different from Kari’s situation.
– Of course, their situation is different. Gestranius is a referee coach and Hyytia work under the Finnish Football Association under a commission agreement related to the VAR project, Casagrande describes at the beginning.
He starts with the continuation of Hyytä.
– The accusations against Hyyti were all from the time when he was the head referee (2017–2021). The issues have been dealt with in time and the necessary measures were already taken two to three years ago. That’s when it was agreed on the end of his chiefship. Nothing new has appeared in that regard.
– With this information, we have not seen that his technical role and part-time contract related to the VAR project should be terminated. He will continue working on the project until autumn 2024.
Gestranius currently trains top Finnish referees. The Premier Referees Club had previously conducted a survey of its members, in which slightly more than half see that the referee coach Gestranius does not enjoy their trust.
– Regarding the allegations against Gestranius, it is said that the management of the Football Association is taking labor management measures. We will make sure that his actions will be coached, directed and above all supported in the future on behalf of the predecessors, says Casagrande.
– It will be done so closely that problems like the one described in this report will be avoided in the future, he concludes.
We need more transparency
Casagrande previously told that Palloliitto had already investigated the trio’s alleged misconduct for more than three months. He also admitted that over the years there has been “more turbulence than average” in the referee function.
The internal inspection of the Swedish Football Association was completed at the beginning of the year. Football Association announced January 31, that the internal audit has handed over its report on the refereeing activities to the Board of the Football Association.
Casagrande says that “things continue to be developed” in Pallloliito with the refereeing offence.
– At the next board meeting in March, we will elect a new referee committee chairman. We will also have a discussion about the composition of the committee, he says about the changes in the administration.
The board of the Finnish Football Federation said on Monday that it had named its vice-chairman as the temporary chairman of the referee committee Styrbjörn Oskarsson.
– The most important thing is to restore trust in the actions and fairness of these decision makers. Perhaps the most important thing is what I’ve said before: nowadays, we need to be able to open up the basis of decisions more than before, in order to increase transparency, sums up the General Secretary of the Balloliitto.
– However, we must remember that the committee and its people will still have to make difficult decisions in the future. They will also lead to disappointments, because not all those who want to become Veikkausliiga referees, for example. However, I believe that these decisions are easier for everyone to accept when trust is at a better level. We have to get to that.