Football in Finland
Home stadium of club HJK Helsinki
Governing bodyFootball 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: Ykkösliiga, Naisten Ykkönen
Tier 3:
Ykkönen, Naisten Kakkonen
Tier 4: Kakkonen, Naisten Kolmonen
Tier 5: Kolmonen, Naisten Nelonen
Tier 6: Nelonen, Naisten Vitonen
Tier 7: Vitonen
Tier 8: Kutonen
Tier 9: Seiska
Finnish Cup
Finnish Women's Cup
International competitions

Football in Finland is not, or at least has traditionally not been, the most popular spectator sport, which is in contrast to most European countries; 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 among adults and 230,000 vs. 105,000 among youths[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 among their hobbies.[4][5]


Main article: Football in Imperial Russia

A match between Finland and Moscow in Moscow on May 6, 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

Stadin derby HIFK–HJK 23. May 2017.

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

IFK Mariehamn home stadium (Wiklof Holding Arena)

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

Main article: Football in Åland

Since 1943 the Åland Football Association (ÅFA) has organized football in Åland. 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.

Football stadiums in Finland

Stadiums with a capacity of 10,000 or higher are included.

# Photo Stadium Capacity City Home Team Founding year Cite
1 Helsinki Olympic Stadium 36,200 Helsinki Finland 1938 [9]
2 Tampere Stadium

(Ratina Stadion)

16,800 Tampere Finland,
1966 [10]
3 Lahden Stadion 14,465 Lahti FC Lahti 1981 [11]
4 Paavo Nurmi Stadium 13,000 Turku 1893 [12]
5 Porin Stadion 12,300 Pori FC Jazz 1966 [13]
6 Bolt Arena 10,770 Helsinki HJK,
2000 [14]


  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. ^ a b "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. ^ a b "Urheilulajien harrastajamäärät 19-65-vuotiaiden keskuudessa" (PDF). Kansallinen liikuntatutkimus 2005-2006. Ministry of Education. 2006. Retrieved 13 February 2010.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ a b c "Urheilulajien harrastajamäärät 8-13-vuotiaiden keskuudessa" (PDF). Kansallinen liikuntatutkimus 2005-2006. Ministry of Education. 2006. Retrieved 13 February 2010.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ a b "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.
  8. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-06-07. Retrieved 2014-06-04.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Stadium Facts | Olympiastadion". Retrieved 2023-10-02.
  10. ^ "Tampere Stadium |". Retrieved 2023-10-02.
  11. ^ "Lahden stadion –". Retrieved 2023-10-22.
  12. ^ "Paavo Nurmen stadion –" (in Finnish). 2019-02-17. Retrieved 2023-10-22.
  13. ^ "Stadion". Porin kaupunki (in Finnish). Retrieved 2023-10-22.
  14. ^ "Coming to a match? Information for match event! - HJK Helsinki - Bolt Arena". HJK Helsinki. Retrieved 2023-10-22.