The Veikkausliiga Regular Series is nearing completion, as the last round will be played in two weeks. After that, the championship series of the six best teams and the series of the six lowest ranked challengers will begin.
The coronavirus is reflected dramatically in the financial situation of clubs. CEO of HIFK Christoffer Perretin According to him, the Helsinki club already knew before the season that it would make a loss of 400,000–500,000 euros due to investments, but the coronavirus has darkened the situation.
– We will make another 200,000-300,000 euros in losses. That is a pretty big percentage of our annual budget, which is normally between EUR 1 million and EUR 1.5 million. This is despite wage cuts and layoffs.
One big factor in HIFK’s losses is match events, as spectator capacity is severely limited.
– Stadin Derby is worth € 150,000 for a sold-out stadium and all its VIP services. This year, it generated about 30,000 euros. Ticket revenue has at least halved, if not less than. The economic impact is shocking.
The season has also been difficult for RoPS. The team is currently the last in the Veikkausliiga.
– There is always uncertainty about how the season will go, how it will be played and whether it will be completed, CEO Risto Niva in.
The distances from Rovaniemi to guest games are cruel. RoPS’s nearest venues are Kuopio and Seinäjoki, both of which are more than 500 kilometers away.
Does it seem sensible to travel around Finland in this corona situation and uncertainty?
– Well no, but there aren’t many options if you want to play the series, Niva admits.
Marathon trip to Mariehamn
RoPS played at home on Thursday. On Sunday, a long guest tour begins, when the team leaves Helsinki by night train and continues its journey by bus to Turku on Monday.
The next game will take place on Thursday in Helsinki, so RoPS will be in a hotel in Southern Finland from Monday to Thursday. According to Niva, RoPS has to take the risk of being exposed to the coronavirus.
– We have to use public forces. We used masks even before mask recommendations and are trying to use hand concepts. There are still huge risks involved. We don’t have a lot of options if we want to play somehow.
RoPS travels mainly on night trains, where players are tightly in sleeping cars. There is no such thing as a restaurant trolley.
For example, the team has tried to reserve an entire wagon upstairs on the train for itself so that no contacts are made. At the destination, RoPS has a bus hired and often reserved hotel rooms for rest.
However, not everything can be planned in advance, as the coronavirus has reduced train capacity and reduced ship shifts.
– The trip to Mariehamn takes 3-4 days. We had to stay in Mariehamn for the night. When the ship arrived in Helsinki, the night trains had already left. We had to be at the hotel the next night as well. We were in Rovaniemi on Friday and Saturday was a game.
According to Niva, it has been calculated that in some seasons other teams will have an average of 20 travel days. RoPS traveled about 70 days a year, according to the bills at the time.
– On return days, we have to give equalization to others at least 24 hours a week. Another day in practice, because we go on a trip while others are still training.
The Veikkausliiga Regular Series ends on October 29.