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Tuesday's papers: Green changes, man re-found, and Olympic Stadium complaints

The press on Tuesday chews over big changes in politics.

Ihmisiä Olympiastadionin ulkopuolella ennen Suomi-Ukraina -ottelua 9.10.2021.
Renovation on the 1930's stadium began in 2016. Image: Tomi Hänninen

The board of Finland's Green Party met on Monday evening to decide who would replace party leader Maria Ohisalo as Interior Minister when she starts her parental leave.

It was not a simple process, reports Iltalehti. The six-hour meeting was effectively deciding who would get the thankless task of managing the Interior Ministry, not a natural portfolio for the pro-immigration Greens, who generally support climate protesters.

The party's deliberations were something of a sudoku puzzle. Pekka Haavisto remained as Foreign Minister, and the party did not want two men to hold three of their ministerial posts.

The heavily Helsinki-based party also wanted someone from the regions in its ministerial team. That's why they earlier chose Tampere MP Iiris Suomela, the youngest MP in Finnish history, to serve as leader while Ohisalo is gone . But Suomela did not want to serve as minister.

In the end Joensuu MP Krista Mikkonen was chosen as Minister of the Interior, moving on from her current job as Environment Minister.

Media had reported her initial rejection of the post over the weekend, but in the end she agreed to take on the task.

"I would have been happy to continue as Environment Minister, but we pondered it for a long time and thought that this was a good solution for the party as a whole," said Mikkonen. "I'll now eagerly go and get to grips with the Interior Minister's job."

When she returns, Ohisalo will take up the Environment Minister portfolio. In the meantime, Helsinki MP Emma Kari will get the job.

Disappearance resolved

Ilta-Sanomat has a happy ending to a story that started thirteen years ago, when a man disappeared from his home in the small logging village of Kolho.

The 52-year-old man was not seen again, and in 2014 was declared 'missing' after his relatives reported him to police.

Since then his name and picture has been published regularly in the local paper, but no sightings were reported. Until now.

Police announced that they had located the man in Keuruu, a town around 20km north of Kolho. The man had lived his life without incident in the intervening time, and simply did not want to be contacted.

Ilta-Sanomat travelled to Kolho to get more colour on the story, finding plenty of respect among the townsfolk for a man who just wanted the quiet life.

"One can do what one likes of one's own accord," said local resident Hannele Airikka. "It's wonderful that this man has found his own way to live his life."

Olympic Stadium renovation gets thumbs down

Helsinki’s Olympic Stadium got a 330 million euro renovation that was finished during the pandemic to much architectural acclaim.

The building got its first real stress test at the weekend, when nearly 30,000 fans attended Finland’s World Cup qualifier against Ukraine. It was a disappointing night for the Eagle Owls, who went down to a 2-1 defeat to leave their hopes of playing in the World Cup finals hanging by a thread.

But the stadium itself didn't do too well either. Fans complained of not being able to get to the toilet, to buy refreshments, and of big queues almost everywhere.

First Ilta-Sanomat and then Kauppalehti reported on the problems, with stadium officials putting the issues down to a lack of information and a dearth of security staff to provide guidance.

One issue was toilets. Because the stadium is a protected structure and not very much can be changed there, the renovation couldn’t expand concourses to add toilets and bars there.

Instead, there is a subterranean "WC-World" offering facilities for 500 fans at a time to do their business, hidden from view. Indeed it was so well-hidden that people could not find it and ended up taking a leak by the fence instead.

Fans attending the France game in November are urged to seek turnstiles, toilets and bars in other parts of the stadium, as they’re able to move freely from one section to the next and don't have to use the entry point or facilities in the action where their actual seat is located.

KL says that with large events planned for next summer, including concerts at the stadium by Ed Sheeran, Antti Tuisku and Sunrise Avenue, organisers face a battle to find or train enough stewards and security staff.

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