Football in Finland

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Football in Finland
Finnair Stadium Helsinki.JPG
Home stadium of club HJK Helsinki
Governing body Football Association of Finland
National team(s) men's national team
National competitions
Club competitions
International competitions

Football in Finland, unlike in most other European countries, is not the most popular spectator sport, as it falls behind ice hockey, which enjoys a huge amount of popularity in the country. [1] Football tops ice hockey in the number of registered players (115,000 vs. 60,000 [2] [3] ) and as a popular hobby (160,000 vs. 90,000 in adults and 230,000 vs. 105, 000 in youth [4] [5] ). It is the most popular hobby among 3-18 year olds, whereas ice hockey is 9th. [5] Football's standing is constantly increasing, especially among girls and women, where the yearly growth rate has lately been over 10 percent. [6] In season 2006–07 19.9 percent of registered players were female. [6] The Football Association of Finland (Palloliitto) has approximately a thousand clubs as its members. [2] According to a Gallup poll, nearly 400,000 people include football in their hobbies. [4] [5]

Europe Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere

Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.

Ice hockey team sport played on ice using sticks, skates, and a puck

Ice hockey is a contact team sport played on ice, usually in a rink, in which two teams of skaters use their sticks to shoot a vulcanized rubber puck into their opponent's net to score points. The sport is known to be fast-paced and physical, with teams usually consisting of six players each: one goaltender, and five players who skate up and down the ice trying to take the puck and score a goal against the opposing team.

Football Association of Finland sports governing body in Finland

The Football Association of Finland is the governing body of football in Finland. It was founded in Helsinki on 19 May 1907.



Football was first brought to Finland in the 1890s by English sailors, and it was first played in Turku. The first national competition in the sport was set up in 1906, and won by a school team from Turku. The Football Association of Finland was founded in 1907 and it joined FIFA the following year. Due to the sport's historically low status in Finland, the country has never really excelled in football. Only since the 1980s, due to the revival of Finnish football, has the country produced such international stars as Jari Litmanen, Antti Niemi, Sami Hyypiä, Mikael Forssell, Mixu Paatelainen, Teemu Tainio and Jussi Jääskeläinen.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Sailor person who navigates water-borne vessels or assists in doing so

A sailor, seaman, mariner, or seafarer is a person who works aboard a watercraft as part of its crew, and may work in any one in a number of different fields that are related to the operation and maintenance of a ship.

Turku City in Southwest Finland, Finland

Turku is a city on the southwest coast of Finland at the mouth of the Aura River, in the region of Southwest Finland (Varsinais-Suomi). Turku, as a town, was settled during the 13th century and founded most likely at the end of the 13th century, making it the oldest city in Finland. It quickly became the most important city in Finland, a status it retained for hundreds of years. After Finland became part of the Russian Empire (1809) and the capital of the Grand Duchy of Finland was moved to Helsinki (1812), Turku continued to be the most populous city in Finland until the end of the 1840s, and it remains a regional capital and an important business and cultural center.

Domestic club competitions

Finnish football

Veikkausliiga (Tier 1)
Ykkönen (Tier 2)
Kakkonen (Tier 3)
Kolmonen (Tier 4)
Nelonen (Tier 5)
Vitonen (Tier 6)
Kutonen (Tier 7)
Seiska (Tier 8)
Suomen Cup 2015

The highest division in Finnish football is the Finnish Premier Division, or Veikkausliiga , comprising 12 professional football teams. Below that is a league system maintained by the Finnish Football Association, with Ykkönen , or First Division, as the second highest division, with 10 teams. Beneath Ykkönen, each division is divided into 'groups' based on the location of the clubs. For instance, the Second Division, or Kakkonen , has 40 teams divided into four regional groups, each of 10 teams.

Veikkausliiga association football league

Veikkausliiga is the premier division of Finnish football, comprising the top 12 clubs of the country. Its main sponsor is the Finnish national betting agency Veikkaus, hence the league's name. Veikkausliiga was founded in 1990; before that the top division was called Mestaruussarja since 1930 which was an amateur or semi-professional league. Between 1908 and 1930 the championship was decided in a cup competition.

Professional person who is paid to undertake a specialized set of tasks and to complete them for a fee

A professional is a member of a profession or any person who earns their living from a specified professional activity. The term also describes the standards of education and training that prepare members of the profession with the particular knowledge and skills necessary to perform their specific role within that profession. In addition, most professionals are subject to strict codes of conduct, enshrining rigorous ethical and moral obligations. Professional standards of practice and ethics for a particular field are typically agreed upon and maintained through widely recognized professional associations, such as the IEEE. Some definitions of "professional" limit this term to those professions that serve some important aspect of public interest and the general good of society.

Ykkönen is the second highest level of the Finnish football league system, although it is the highest league managed by the Football Association of Finland.

The Finnish Cup is Finland's national cup competition, open to all member clubs of the Finnish Football Association. In the 2009 season, 356 clubs signed up to take part in the competition. [7]

The Finnish Cup is Finland's main national cup competition in football. This yearly competition is open for all member clubs of the FA of Finland and has been played since 1955.

A tournament is a competition involving a relatively large number of competitors, all participating in a sport or game. More specifically, the term may be used in either of two overlapping senses:

  1. One or more competitions held at a single venue and concentrated into a relatively short time interval.
  2. A competition involving a number of matches, each involving a subset of the competitors, with the overall tournament winner determined based on the combined results of these individual matches. These are common in those sports and games where each match must involve a small number of competitors: often precisely two, as in most team sports, racket sports and combat sports, many card games and board games, and many forms of competitive debating. Such tournaments allow large numbers to compete against each other in spite of the restriction on numbers in a single match.

All Finnish domestic football competitions take place in the spring, summer and autumn, due to weather conditions. Similar systems are used in the other Nordic countries as well, except for Denmark which had that system in the past.

Nordic countries Geographical and cultural region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic

The Nordic countries or the Nordics are a geographical and cultural region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic, where they are most commonly known as Norden. The term includes Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, as well as Greenland and the Faroe Islands—which are both part of the Kingdom of Denmark—and the Åland Islands and Svalbard and Jan Mayen archipelagos that belong to Finland and Norway respectively, whereas the Norwegian Antarctic territories are often not considered a part of the Nordic countries, due to their geographical location. Scandinavians, who comprise over three quarters of the region's population, are the largest group, followed by Finns, who comprise the majority in Finland; other groups are indigenous minorities such as the Greenlandic Inuit and the Sami people, and recent immigrants and their descendants. The native languages Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese are all North Germanic languages rooted in Old Norse. Native non-Germanic languages are Finnish, Greenlandic and several Sami languages. The main religion is Lutheran Christianity. The Nordic countries have much in common in their way of life, history, religion, their use of Scandinavian languages and social structure. The Nordic countries have a long history of political unions and other close relations, but do not form a separate entity today. The Scandinavist movement sought to unite Denmark, Norway and Sweden into one country in the 19th century, with the indepedence of Finland in the early 20th century, and Iceland in the mid 20th century, this movement expanded into the modern organised Nordic cooperation which includes the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers. Especially in English, Scandinavia is sometimes used as a synonym for the Nordic countries, but that term more properly refers to the three monarchies of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Geologically, the Scandinavian Peninsula comprises the mainland of Norway and Sweden as well as the northernmost part of Finland.

National team

The Finland national team played its first international match in 1911 against Sweden. Finland was still then a Grand Duchy part of the Russian Empire, and became independent in 1917. Finland have played in a few Olympic Games, finishing fourth in 1912, but have so far never qualified for the FIFA World Cup or the UEFA European Championship.

Finland national football team mens national association football team representing Finland

The Finland national football team represents Finland in international football competitions and is controlled by the Football Association of Finland.

Grand Duchy of Finland predecessor state of modern Finland

The Grand Duchy of Finland was the predecessor state of modern Finland. It existed between 1809 and 1917 as an autonomous part of the Russian Empire.

Russian Empire Former country, 1721–1917

The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.

The Football Association of Finland also organizes national under-19 and under-21 teams.

The Finland women's national football team made their competitive debut in the 1984 European Competition for Women's Football qualification. [8] To date, their most successful competition has been UEFA Women's Euro 2005, where they reached the semi-finals stage. [8]

Åland Islands

Since 1943 the Åland Football Association (ÅFA) has organized football in the Åland Islands. The ÅFA is a district association of the Football Association of Finland. However, the Åland Islands fields independent men's and women's national teams, principally competing in the Island Games.

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The Swedish Football Association is the governing and head body of football in Sweden. It organises the football leagues — Allsvenskan for men and Damallsvenskan for women — and the men's and women's national teams. It is based in Solna and is a founding member of both FIFA and UEFA. SvFF is supported by 24 district organisations.

FC Honka association football club

FC Honka is a Finnish football club, based in Espoo. It was promoted into the Finnish premier division (Veikkausliiga), for the first time in its history, at the end of the 2005 season. The club's manager is Vesa Vasara and it plays its home matches at Tapiolan urheilupuisto. It was founded in 1957 as Tapion Honka, and changed its name to FC Honka in 1975.

Kokkolan Palloveikot association football club

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Pallo-Iirot Finnish football club

Pallo-Iirot is a football club from Rauma in Finland. The club was formed in 1930 and their home ground is at the Äijänsuon stadion. The men's first team currently plays in the Kakkonen. The Chairman of Pallo-Iirot is Tarmo Salvi.

Roman Eremenko Finnish footballer

Roman Alekseyevich Eremenko is a Russian-born Finnish professional footballer who plays in the Russian Premier League for FC Rostov. Eremenko is best known for his time in FC Dynamo Kyiv, winning the Ukrainian Premier League title in 2009, and playing in the Champions and Europa Leagues. He served a two-year ban for crack cocaine use from October 2016 to October 2018. Prior to his ban, he also played regularly for the Finland national football team. Eremenko made his international debut for Finland in June 2007, at the age of 20.

Sport is considered a national pastime in Finland and many Finns visit different sporting events regularly. Pesäpallo is the national sport of Finland, although the most popular forms of sport in terms of television viewers and media coverage are ice hockey and Formula One. In spectator attendance, harness racing comes right after ice hockey in popularity.

Paulus Arajuuri Finnish footballer

Paulus Verneri Arajuuri is a Finnish professional footballer, who plays as a centre back for Brøndby IF in the Danish Superliga and the Finland national team. He began his senior club career playing for FC Espoo, before making his Veikkausliiga debut with Honka at age 18 in 2006.

Grankulla IFK

Grankulla IFK, or GrIFK as the name is commonly abbreviated, is a Finnish sports club from the city of Kauniainen. The club was formed in 1925 and the main activities covered are football, ice-hockey, handball and floorball. The club’s main football team is currently playing in the Kakkonen, the third tier of the Finnish football league system. GrIFK play their home matches at Kauniaisten Keskuskenttä. The Chairman of the club is Jan Sten. The club has more than 600 registered players.

PK-35 Vantaa association football club from Vantaa, Finland

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Käpylän Pallo association football club in Finland

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Gamlakarleby Bollklubb is a Finnish football club from Kokkola. It currently plays in the Finnish Second Division (Kakkonen), which is the third-highest level in Finnish football. GBK play their home games at the Keskuskenttä in Kokkola, which has the capacity to accommodate around 3,000 people.

Åbo IFK association football club

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Pallo-Kerho 37 association football club in Finland

Pallo-Kerho 37, also known as PK-37, is a Finnish football club from the city of Iisalmi. The club was founded on 10 October 1937 as a bandy and football club, but later on it also became known for its pesäpallo and ice hockey sections. Nowadays PK-37 concentrates only on football.

Timo Furuholm Finnish footballer

Timo Furuholm, is a Finnish professional football Forward who plays for Finnish Veikkausliiga side Inter Turku and represents Finland national team. Furuholm was born in Pori, Finland where he started his senior career in local FC Jazz. He made his Veikkausliiga debut at age 15 in 2003. He is the son of former Finnish footballer and current Eurosport commentator, Tapio Furuholm.

IF Gnistan association football club in Finland

IF Gnistan is a Finnish football club from the city of Helsinki, founded in 1924. The club is currently playing in the Ykkönen, the second tier of the Finnish league system. IF Gnistan play their home matches at Mustapekka Areena. Club's home district is Oulunkylä, which locates in northern part of the capital city.

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Närpes Kraft Fotbollsförening association football club in Finland

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The 2011 Veikkausliiga was the eighty-first season of top-tier football in Finland. It began on 2 May 2011 and ended on 29 October 2011. HJK were the defending champions and successfully defended their title.

HIFK Fotboll football club from Helsinki, Finland

HIFK Fotboll or IFK Helsingfors is an association football section of HIFK, a sports club from Helsinki, Finland. The men's football first team plays in the highest tier of Finnish football, Veikkausliiga. Their home ground is at the Telia 5G -areena.


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  2. 1 2 "Suomen Palloliitto". Football Association of Finland. Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  3. "Info". Finnish Ice Hockey Association. Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  4. 1 2 "Urheilulajien harrastajamäärät 19-65-vuotiaiden keskuudessa" (PDF). Kansallinen liikuntatutkimus 2005-2006. Ministry of Education. 2006. Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  5. 1 2 3 "Urheilulajien harrastajamäärät 8-13-vuotiaiden keskuudessa" (PDF). Kansallinen liikuntatutkimus 2005-2006. Ministry of Education. 2006. Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  6. 1 2 "Jalkapallo kasvussa Suomessa ja maailmalla". refers to FIFA Big Count 2006. Football Association of Finland. 2007-06-19. Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  7. "Participants". Finnish Cup 2009. Football Association of Finland. 2009. Archived from the original on April 8, 2009. Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  8. 1 2