The 2017 Veikkausliiga is the eighty-seventh season of top-tier football in Finland. The season starts at the beginning of April 2017; the regular season ends on October 2017, with a promotion/relegation playoff continuing until the end of October. IFK Mariehamn is the defending champions, winning for their very first time in the 13th season this team played in the Finnish first football league.
The Aland Islands, an archipelago between Sweden and Finland in the Baltic Sea, only has a population of 29,000 people. At the end of 2016’s season, they became one of the smallest communities in the world to have ever celebrated a championship title. Finland football legend Jari Litmanen described Mariehamn as "a fairytale" and called them "the Finnish Leicester". He has a point, and there are significant similarities between the Premier League champions and the tiny club from Aland Islands. Now the smallest town in Veikkausliiga has Champions League qualifiers to look forward to next summer. IFK have played in the Europa League twice before, in 2013-14 and 2016-17, losing both times in the first qualifying round.
At the bottom of the table PK-35 Vantaa were relegated and will be replaced in the 2017’s season by JJK Jyväskylä, who won Ykkönen, the first divison.
In the upcoming season the battle for the first place is announced to be even more exciting that the one of this year. IFK Mariehamm, HJK Helsinki, SJK and VPS all will give their best in order to win the title. As of yet it is very early to talk about these teams’ development for the upcoming season due to the fact that the last season has just finished.
It is expectable that HJK Helsinki to mobilize and to not miss the championship again. The team from the capital of Finland is recognised to be the one with best financial resources. Also between the targets for next season, HJK will try to impress in the UEFA Europe League, forcing to advance to the group stage.
Seinäjoen Jalkapallokerho (SJK), the champions of the2015’s edition did not have the expected result last year, as they only finished 3rd, but this could just be rest season between 2 trophies if they will succed in winning the next season of Veikkausliiga.
Starting with the 2016 season which also was their best, IFK Mariehamn surprised by transfering few players from other countries who increased the qualify of the team. Players from Sweden, USA and even Scotland helped the team to win the title and it can represent the beginning of a new trand in the Finnish football. If the owners of this team will keep bringing good players, their succes in 2017 may be as good as last season.
The 2017 season of Veikkausliiga could also represent the renaissance of few teams that used to get good results in the past teams such as KuPS Kuopio (a 5 times championship winners but a the team who only finished 7th last season). KuPS also holds the Finnish club record of the most consecutive seasons in the top flight, from 1949 to 1992. The team is placed fourth in the all-time Finnish premier league honour table.