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 (Finnish: Suomen Palloliitto)
National team(s) Men's national team
Women's national team
National competitions
Club competitions
Tier 1: Veikkausliiga, Kansallinen Liiga
Tier 2: Ykkönen, Naisten Ykkönen
Tier 3: Kakkonen, Naisten Kakkonen
Tier 4: Kolmonen, Naisten Kolmonen
Tier 5: Nelonen, Naisten Nelonen
Tier 6: Vitonen, Naisten Vitonen
Tier 7: Kutonen
Tier 8: Seiska
Finnish Cup
Finnish Women's Cup
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 (Finnish : Suomen Palloliitto) has approximately one thousand member clubs. [2] According to a Gallup poll, nearly 400,000 people include football in their hobbies. [4] [5]


Finland team paying a Moscow XI in Moscow 1912 Moscow v Finland, 1912, Zamoskvoretsky Club, Moscow.png
Finland team paying a Moscow XI in Moscow 1912

Football developed in Finland in the early twentieth century when Finland was still part of the Russian Empire. Following the Bolshevik seizure of power in the October Revolution in November 1917, the Independence of Finland was recognised by the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in January 1918. 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.

Domestic club competitions

The highest division in Finnish men's football is the 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.

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]

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.

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. Finland qualified to UEFA European Championship for the first time in 2020.

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.

Related Research Articles

Football Association of Finland

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

FC Honka

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

Mikkelin Palloilijat

Mikkelin Palloilijat is a Finnish football club, based in Mikkeli. The club was founded in 1929 and also included volleyball, bandy and ice hockey sections. In 1998 MP merged with Mikkelin Kissat to form FC Mikkeli. Due to financial difficulties, this union in 2001 was dissolved and the two clubs returned to manage individually. It played in the Finnish First Division (Ykkönen) from 2004 to 2006 but was relegated to Kakkonen at the end of the season. The club gained promotion to Ykkönen by winning the Group A of Kakkonen 2009 but was immediately relegated back to Kakkonen in 2010. The club's manager is Ilkka Mäkelä, and it plays its home matches at Mikkelin Urheilupuisto. In 2015 they got promoted to the Ykkönen again.

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.

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.

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.

Kansallinen Liiga

Kansallinen Liiga is the premier division of women's football in Finland. The first season as Kansallinen Liiga will be played in 2020.

Mika Ojala Finnish footballer

Mika Ojala is a Finnish professional footballer who plays as a midfielder. He began his senior club career playing for VG-62, before signing with Inter Turku at age 18 in 2006.

Porin Palloilijat Finnish football club

Porin Palloilijat or FC PoPa is a Finnish football club, based in the city of Pori in Finland. The club currently plays in the Ykkönen, the second highest level of Finnish football. The club was established in 1925 but did not operate between 1960 and 1981. It has been the leading football team in Pori since FC Jazz went bankrupt in early 2005.

Åland United Finnish football team

Åland United is a Finnish women's football club based in Lemland, Åland Islands. They compete in the Kansallinen Liiga, the premier women's football league in Finland.

Närpes Kraft Fotbollsförening

Närpes Kraft Fotbollsförening is a football club from Närpes, Finland. The original club was formed in 1930 and their home ground is at the Mosedal. The men's football first team currently plays in the Kakkonen.

Football in Åland is governed by the Åland Football Association (ÅFF), which was founded in 1943. ÅFF is a member of Football Association of Finland.

Tiina Saario Finnish footballer

Tiina Saario is a Finnish football midfielder. She plays club football for MPS in the Finnish second tier Naisten Ykkönen.

HIFK Fotboll Football club from Helsinki, Finland

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

Naisten Ykkönen Finnish womens football league

Naisten Ykkönen is the second highest division of women's football in Finland. It is overseen by the Suomen Palloliitto. Teams in Naisten Ykkönen can gain promotion to the top-tier Kansallinen Liiga or be relegated to the third-tier Naisten Kakkonen. At the conclusion of the 2019 season, PK-35 Vantaa gained promotion to the Kansallinen Liiga as champions of the Naisten Ykkönen and PK-35 gained promotion by winning the promotion/relegation series against IK Myran. Conversely, GBK Kokkola and Ilves/2, were relegated to the Naisten Kakkonen at the conclusion of the 2019 season.

The 2019 Finnish Cup was the 64th season of the Finnish Cup football competition.

The 2020 Finnish Cup is the 65th season of the Finnish Cup football competition.

PK-35 (women) Finnish association football team

Pallokerho-35 (PK-35) Naiset is the representative women's football team of the Helsinki-based football club Pallokerho-35 (PK-35). The team debuted in Finland's top-level league, the Kansallinen Liiga, for the 2020 season. They gained promotion at the end of the previous season, winning the 2019 qualifier against IK Myran. PK-35 had previously reached the ascending qualifier in the 2018 season but lost to Oulu Nice Soccer (ONS).

2020 Kansallinen Liiga

The 2020 Kansallinen Liiga was the 14th season of the Naisten Liiga, the top flight women's division of the Finnish football league system and the 1st season of the Kansallinen Liiga after its change of name. Åland United were the champions after 18 rounds of matches.

PK-35 Vantaa (women) Finnish football club

PK-35 Vantaa is a football club based in Vantaa, Finland. The club is "dedicated to women's football" and its representative team plays in the Kansallinen Liiga, the top-tier women's league in Finland. PK-35 Vantaa has won the Finnish Championship six times and the Finnish Women's Cup four times. The club's home ground is the Myyrmäen jalkapallostadion in the Myyrmäki district of Vantaa.


  1. "Lajeja paikan päällä vähintään kerran vuodessa seuraavien määrä lajeittain 19-65-vuotiaiden keskuudessa" (PDF). Kansallinen liikuntatutkimus 2005-2006. Ministry of Education. 2006. Retrieved 13 February 2010.[ permanent dead link ]
  2. 1 2 "Suomen Palloliitto". Football Association of Finland. Archived from the original on 23 April 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  3. "Info". Finnish Ice Hockey Association. Archived from the original on 27 February 2010. 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.[ permanent dead link ]
  5. 1 2 3 "Urheilulajien harrastajamäärät 8-13-vuotiaiden keskuudessa" (PDF). Kansallinen liikuntatutkimus 2005-2006. Ministry of Education. 2006. Retrieved 13 February 2010.[ permanent dead link ]
  6. 1 2 "Jalkapallo kasvussa Suomessa ja maailmalla". refers to FIFA Big Count 2006. Football Association of Finland. 2007-06-19. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. 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.
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