Football is a popular sport in Finland and the number of new players is increasing rapidly. There are about 160 000 footballers in Finland. Football stranded in Finland at the end of 19 th century, and it became more known sport in the beginning of 20 th century. Finland’s football association was founded in 1907 and joined FIFA a year later, at a time when the country was still a part of the Russian Empire. The Football Association of Finland (Suomen Palloliitto) is based in the Finnish capital city Helsinki, and it is not only the governing body of Finnish football, but it has also been the governing body of Finnish futsal since 1997.
The Finnish Football Association is organizing all national team activities. Finnish football national teams are called Huuhkajat (men’s team) and Helmarit (women’s team). Year 2021 and 2022 have been great years to both national teams because men’s team played first time ever in UEFA European championship tournament and women’s played in Euro tournament first time since year 2013. Also, in futsal year 2022 was great. The Finnish national futsal team played first time in European Championships in 2022.
The highest division in men’s football in Finland is called Veikkausliiga with 12 teams competing. The second highest division is called nowadays Ykkösliiga and the third highest division is called Ykkönen. Miesten kakkonen is the fourth highest level which is divided into three groups. The structures of the leagues are explained below. All these four leagues are national and the players that are playing in these leagues can join the Finnish Players’ Association.
The structure of Veikkausliiga year 2024
Veikkauliiga is being played in the following way:
So total number of the games is 167. In addition, there will be two qualification games to Veikkausliiga. Those games are organized by Football Association of Finland, so they are not part of Veikkausliiga.
How the teams will be selected to UEFA international club competitions for the 2024/2025?
The Finnish champion of Veikkausliiga will get the first spot for UEFA Champions league qualification, the winner of Finnish Cup gets the first spot for the UEFA Europa Conference league qualifications, and the second placed in the Veikkausliiga gets the second place in the UEFA Europa Conference league qualifications (if the Cup winner has placed first or second in the Veikkausliiga, the second placement entitling to the European Conference League goes to the third placed in the Veikkausliiga).
After the Veikkausliiga Championship and Challenger Series have ended, a separate UECL final tournament will be played, for the last (third) place qualifying for the UEFA European Conference League for the next international game season 2024/2025. If the winner of the Finnish Cup is ranked 1-7, then the runner-up of the Challenger Series, i.e., the 8th team of the Veikkausliiga, will participate in the final tournament.
The structure of Ykkösliiga:
Ykkösliiga is the second highest division in men’s football in Finland with 10 teams. The team ranked 12th in the Veikkausliiga is relegated directly to Ykkösliiga for the next season. The team ranked 11th in the Veikkausliiga qualifies for a place in the Veikkausliiga with the team that finished second in the Ykkösliiga, in a two-part qualification.
The stucture of Ykkönen
1. Ykkönen is the third highest divisin in men's football in Finland with 12 teams. 12 teams play against each other two times: once at home and once away. After the main series the six best teams continue to championship group where each team plays once against each other, and the six lowest teams continue to a relegation group where the teams play against each other once too. The points and the goals from the main serie will be taken into account in the subsequent series.
2. The winning team in the upper group will be promoted directly to Ykkösliiga and the second-placed team will advance to a two-leg qualifying round for Ykkösliiga against the second-worst placed team.
3. The last two teams in the relegation group are directly relegated to Miesten Kakkonen.
Miesten Kakkonen is the fourth highest division in Finland in men’s football. There are three groups in this division and the teams are geographically distributed into those groups. The groups are simply called A, B and C. Each group has 10 teams. Each team plays twice against all the other teams in their group, so each team has in total of 18 games.
1. After the regular season, the groups are divided into upper (1-6) and lower (7-10) continuation groups. The points accumulated in the round robin are retained.
2. The top three teams in the upper group get three home games, and the others two. After that, the teams will have played 23 matches. 7-10 placed teams play twice against each other,those teams will have then played 24 matches.
3. After the upper group, the top two teams from each group and the two best positioned three teams from all groups (eight teams in total) will play in the play-offs according to a set formula. At the end of the play-offs, two teams will be promoted to the Ykkönen. The teams finishing 9th and 10th in the lower divisions will be relegated to the third division. In total, six teams will be relegated from Miesten Kakkonen to Division Three.
The highest league in women’s football in Finland is called Kansallinen Liiga. The second highest division is called Naisten ykkönen (Kansallinen ykkönen 2025). Kansallinen Liiga and Naisten Ykkönen are both national leagues and the players that are playing in these leagues can join Football Players’ Association. (Jalkapallon Pelaajayhdistys).
The structure of Kansallinen Liiga: Last season as a 10-team series
The structure of Naisten Ykkönen (Kansallinen ykkönen 2025):
Naisten Ykkönen is the second highest division in women’s football in Finland. There are 10 teams in the league.