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Odds on football in Finland

football in Finland

Finnish Football

The Finnish football league system is much like its European counterparts, featuring promotion and relegation throughout. There are 8 total tiers, the top 3 of which are controlled by the Finish FA whilst the control of the rest is delegated regionally. The top 2 divisions, Veikkausliiga and Ykkönen are fully national leagues whilst from tier 3 down they are split into regions to avoid excessive travel.

There is also the Finnish Cup which can be entered by all clubs that are affiliated to the Finnish FA.

Veikkausliiga and Ykkönen – Promotion and Relegation

The structure of these two leagues in Finland is highly prone to change. In 2012 there were 12 teams in the Veikkausliiga who play everyone home and away for a total of 22 games. The league then splits into a Championship Division and a Challenge Division where everyone plays the teams in their division once more for a final total of 27 games.

The bottom team in the Challenge Division at the end of the season is relegated to the Ykkönen whilst the second bottom team must enter a playoff against a second-tier team to retain their place in the league.

The Ykkönen also contains 12 teams, with each team playing everyone 3 times for a total season length of 33 games. The winner of the league is automatically promoted whilst the second placed team wins a 2-legged play off against the second bottom team from Veikkausliiga with the winner taking a place in Finland’s top league.

There is no relegation playoff, with the bottom two clubs being relegated automatically.

European Qualification

Finland are a lowly 43rd in the UEFA coefficient rankings, which means they are offered just 1 Champions League place and even in this they have to enter at a very early qualifying round. This place is awarded to the Veikkausliiga winners.

There are also 3 early qualifying round places in the inaugural Europa Conference League available, which go to 2nd and 3rd in the Veikkausliga as well as the Finnish Cup winners. If the Finnish Cup winner is already qualified, then the place is awarded to the 4th placed Veikkausliga team.

Finnish Cup

Last year saw 125 clubs battle it our in the Finnish Cup and it is around this number each year. The draw is unseeded but higher clubs do enter in later rounds to avoid any mismatches and fixture congestion.

The most successful Cup team in Finland currently are HJK who have won the competition on 14 occasions and are the current champions. Their nearest challengers are FC Haka with 12, but they have not won the competition since 2005. Reipas Lahti round out the top 3 with 7.


HJK have absolutely dominated Finland’s top league both recently and throughout history with 30 titles, including 7 in the 2010’s. The next teams are nowhere near, both FC Haka and HPS having won 9 each.