While football in Finland trails behind ice hockey as the most popular sport, it surpasses hockey in the number of registered players with 115,000 vs 60,000.
Finland’s Veikkausliiga is the top tier division and was founded in 1990. Its name comes from their main sponsor, betting agency Veikkaus. Before 1990 the top division was called Mestaruussarja.
Veikkausliiga is currently ranked as 32nd best league in Europe. The format and numbers of teams competing in the division have changed frequently although they recently settled on 12 teams playing against each other three times.
Veikkausliiga – Finland
Number of teams: 12
Level on the pyramid: 1
Domestic cup: Finnish Cup (Suomen Cup), Finnish League Cup
Current champions: HJK Helsinki
Average range of annual salaries: approx. €24,000
Transfer window: 12th February to 6th May 2015, 6th August to 2nd September 2015
Season duration: April – October
Number of allowed foreign players (per team): max. 3 non-EU players
Number of foreign players: 87
Average stadium attendances: 2,160 (2011)
Veikkausliiga consists of a whole of 33 rounds where the best six teams from the previous season play 17 home matches and the rest get 16. Team who finishes last it directly relegated to the Finnish second tier division Ykkönen, whose winner is promoted to the Veikkausliiga.
HJK has won the most titles by a margin in the Finnish top division with 27 and are currently the defending champions for the sixth consecutive year. They are followed by FC Haka and HPS who both won it 9 times respectively.
Season runs from April to October
Like most of the European cold-climate countries the League is played in warmer part of the year and is usually scheduled from April to October. There are two (2) transfer windows in year 2015; the winter transfer window lasts almost three months (12th February – 6th May 2015) while summer transfer window lasts a bit less than one month (6th August – 2nd September 2015). The average annual salary with fringe benefits is around 24,000 €.
The clubs are allowed to have a maximum number of 3 non-EU players on their team and there are currently 87 foreign players in Veikkausliiga. 56% of all transfer dealings happen on national level, between Finnish clubs, while 24% of transfer account for players leaving for abroad and 20% for the players joining the Veikkausliiga. The most players who join the league come from their neighbouring country Sweden (20%) which is also the most popular destination for players departing (21%).
Life-style in Finland
Country population: 5.4 million
Average salary (€): 2,830/month
Tax rate (gross vs net): 6.5%, 17.5%, 21.5%, 30%
National currency: Euro (€)
Average temperature, humidity and rainfall during the season: 11,2C, 74%, 51mm
Food: Fish and meat, rye, berries, potatos
Most popular sports: Ice hockey, harness racing, football
Transport (domestic flights): Airports in all major cities