New Sports Law for Finland

The Finnish government has adopted a proposal for a new sports law, which would replace the current physical laws dating back to 1998. The main objective of the law is to encourage the whole population to be physically active.


One of the latest acts of the Finnish Government in 2014 was that it has set a proposal for a new sports law replacing the current law dating back to 1998. The new law was originally scheduled to come into effect in the beginning of 2015.

The main objectives of the law is to promote opportunities for physical activity in the different groups of Finnish population, population welfare and health as well as physical function, growth and development of children and youth. The new law sets guidelines and principles of support for civic activities, including activities in sports clubs and elite sport. The law further sets the ethical principles of honesty and the reduction of inequalities in sports.

The Ministry of education and culture is responsible for the general policy of the country to respond to physical exercise, physical coordination and development, as well as to the General conditions on the creation of the State administration. Sport and physical activity have been characterized to function as a basic service to the citizens.

One of the most interesting features of the new law is that sports and physical activity will be considered a basic service to the citizens as part of the development of health and well-being. The service will be offered by the municipalities, however, upon their own decision concerning the diversity and content of the services and based on their available resources. Parallelism to social and health services offered by the municipalities are evident. 

The new law emphasizes low threshold for physical activity disregarding the status of physical condition of an individual. In this respect the sports law blur the borderline between two parallel laws namely sports law and healthcare law. The health care law states that rehabilitation is designed to further the functional capacity, independent coping, wellbeing, possibilities for participation and employment of an individual. The sports law dictates that physical activity is necessary to maintain and develop the functional capacity of an individual.

We now hope that cross talk over administrative boarders would become as smooth as possible for the benefit of Finnish citizens. Individuals’ physical performance should be developed early enough before one’s health is threatened and restored immediately when the man is sick. This is the job to be done by actors in both sports & exercise and health & medicine.

Season’s Greetings to all of you!

Kari L. Keskinen