Financing of sport
The task of sports administration and services is to promote sports and physical activity. The Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for the general direction, coordination and development of sports policy and for ensuring that the central government has the right conditions in place to promote sports and physical exercise.
The Ministry of Education and Culture uses proceeds from gambling services along with universal government income to assist sports and elite sports.
The Ministry of Education and Culture uses budget appropriations allocated to sports for providing financial support to:
- sports and physical activity organisations and clubs
- construction of sports facilities
- municipal sports and physical activity services
- sports training centres (sports institutes)
- promotion of active lifestyles
- promotion of elite sports
- research in sports sciences
- other sports and physical activity functions
In the 2023 Budget, approximately EUR 153.7 million was reserved for sports and physical activity, which consists of proceeds from gambling services (EUR 115.4 million) and from budget funds allocated as central government transfers to local government and to sports training centres (EUR 33.8 million). For the implementation of the Sports Policy Report and the policies outlined in the Government Programme, the appropriation includes EUR 4.5 million for promoting physical activity and elite sports.
Discretionary government grants and central government transfers to local government
Grants for sports and physical activity are awarded in the form of general and special grants. Sector-specific grants are awarded by both the Ministry of Education and Culture and regional state administration agencies. Financial support in the form of central government transfers to local government is awarded to municipalities and sport training centres.
Discretionary government grants are awarded as general grants to national organisations promoting physical activity. The provision of financial assistance seeks to finance non-governmental activities of general interest and to safeguard the operating conditions. Discretionary government grants may only be awarded to organisations that meet the eligibility criteria. Special grants are awarded for purposes such as promoting active lifestyles.
Central government transfers are awarded to municipalities to finance the operating costs of sports and physical activity services based on the number of residents and unit price. Municipalities may also be awarded discretionary government grants for the development of sports and physical activity services and to sports and physical activity projects that promote health.
Central government transfers to local government are used to finance the work of sports training centres, i.e. sports institutes, which provide education and other activities in the field of sports and physical activity. The basis for calculating central government transfers is a 24-hour student instruction day at national sport training centres or a student instruction day at regional sports training centres, along with the unit price set for them.
Each year, an appropriation is allocated in the Budget for awarding grants for the construction of sports facilities and associated recreational facilities. The grants are primarily awarded to municipalities or joint municipal authorities and to organisations operating under their control.
In addition to construction grants, the Ministry of Education and Culture also provides financial support for research and development projects associated with the construction of sports facilities. Sports training centres may also be awarded discretionary government grants for their sports facility projects.
The Ministry of Education and Culture's direct support primarily targets elite sports under the auspices of the Finnish Olympic Committee and its elite sports unit. The Ministry awards athlete grants to some 260 elite athletes, which aim to ensure that athletes can pursue a comprehensive training programme. The Ministry also awards discretionary government grants for the work of sports institute training centres and sports academies. Central government does not provide financial support to promote for-profit professional sports.
Discretionary government grants are also used to finance research projects in sport sciences and the work of sport sciences and communications organisations.