One story which makes most of the front pages this morning is the International Olympic Committee’s announcement that it will “explore legal options” for banning Russia from the Rio Olympics this summer, following a damning report which described widespread, state-sanctioned doping at previous games. Tampere’s Aamulehti sees the IOC’s decision yesterday not to impose an immediate blanket ban as “giving Russia hope”. Helsingin Sanomat, on the other hand, notes that the IOC has already “called for tough punishments” over the doping claims, under a front-page graphic detailing the 82 medals that Russia won at the London Olympics last time round. Inside, the paper speaks to a string of prominent Finnish sports officials and competitors, who call for harsh punishments on Russia, and the return of previous medals.
An editorial in Iltalehti, meanwhile, claims the IOC’s decision won’t come down to doping, but to politics. “[The committee] said they’re obtaining legal advice over possible sanctions, but in fact chairman Thomas Bach and his colleagues are likely looking for a political backrest,” the paper says. The editorial goes on to list other times politics and the Olympics have mixed, from the awarding of the 1952 Olympics to Helsinki (“the west’s reaching out to a sparsely populated country which was fighting for its existence in the shadow of the Soviet Union”) to the show of political might at the Beijing and Sochi games in 2008 and 2014.
The paper, though, has its own idea for how to “rescue the sporting federation”: stage an Olympics which is for sport’s sake and nothing more. The location? Why, “Helsinki or Stockholm,” of course.
Cuban volleyball case
The top story in Aamulehti this morning is an update on the six detained Cuban volleyball players, who have been held on rape charges since the beginning of this month. Yesterday a court turned down appeals from four of the accused, meaning, the paper says, they will stay in custody and can wave goodbye to any chance of appearing at this summer’s Olympics. Police say their pre-investigation will be complete next week, before the file will be passed to the prosecutor who decides whether or not to bring charges. A lawyer to one of the players told the paper that he is in shock and is worried for his career. All six deny the charges, and face up to ten years imprisonment.
Out with the old
Another of Helsingin Sanomat’s front-page stories this morning is the revelation that Finns only recycle half of their electronic appliances, meaning that up to 70,000 tons of home electronics are dumped every year.
Although recycling rates have gone up, the paper says, the increase is minimal given the fact that for the last three years shops have had a legal obligation to take in the old machine when a customer buys a new one. Small devices can be disposed of for free – without any obligation to buy a new one – at a number of electronics shops, supermarkets or department stores. The problem is, the paper says, few customers are aware of their rights in this area.
On the other hand, one official tells the paper, the amount Finland recycles is big compared to other countries. “You don’t see old fridges and cookers by the side of the road anymore,” he asserts.