Janne Järvinen has been left off Finland’s sailing team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, weeks after being handed a prison sentence for money laundering and drug offences.
The Finnish Olympic Committee Board met on April 20 to determine who would partner Sinem Kurtbay in the Nacra 17 event at the Games.
Kurtbay and Järvinen had qualified Finland for the Olympic Games at the Lanzarote International Regatta last month, which served as a European qualifier.
Yet the organisation deliberated between Akseli Keskinen and Järvinen, with evidence presented in favour of each candidate.
Mika Lehtimäki, director of the Finnish Olympic Committee's Top Sports Unit, said the decision to select Keskinen over Järvinen had been made on sporting merit.
A factor was that Keskinen is considered to have more potential for the future at the age of 21, compared to 45-year-old Järvinen.
"The athletic screens of the pairs are very strong with each other, so the selection and consideration of the Top Sports Unit mentioned in the criteria has been used in the selection decision," Lehtimäki said.
"Emphasis has been placed on the upward development of Akseli Keskinen's career in accordance with section two of the selection criteria, as well as the fact that Kurtbay/Keskinen has been better than Kurtbay/Järvinen when competing at the global level, such as in World Cup competitions."
The Lanzarote International Regatta, where Kurtbay and Järvinen had qualified Finland for the Olympic Games, came prior to Järvinen being given a two-and-a-half-year prison sentenced by the Helsinki District Court.
According to Finland’s national broadcaster Yle, he was convicted of aiding and abetting a felony drug offence and aggravated money laundering.
Järvinen was one of 53 people charged in the Katiska case, one of Finland’s largest drug trials.
A drug, doping and smuggling ring reportedly operated mainly between Finland and Costa del Sol in Spain between 2017 and 2019.
Sentences of more than 10 years were given to Niko Ranta-aho and Janne Tranberg, who were viewed as ringleaders in the case, which involved motorcycle gangs and celebrities.
The Finnish Olympic Committee said that due to the judgement of the court not being final, Järvinen remained eligible for selection for Tokyo 2020.
Jan Vapaavuori, chairman of the Finnish Olympic Committee, said the organisation would still have had a serious decision to make had Järvinen been the only option to choose for the Games.
"The charges against which Järvinen has been convicted in the district court are very serious and in stark contradiction with the values of the Olympic Committee and the ethical guidelines of the sports community, even if they are not directly related to sports," Vapaavuori said.
"It is clear that the Board of the Olympic Committee would have had to seriously consider choosing Järvi for the Games, even if he had been the only option.
"Now the matter was resolved on purely sporting criteria, but for the time being, we need to assess the timeliness of our range of remedies for this type of situation."
Järvinen has reportedly vowed to appeal against his conviction, as well as appeal his non-selection for Tokyo 2020.