O1 Abstract
Finland : Civic activities, growing participation, diversification, and professionalisation (2022)

Itkonen, H., Nevala, A., & Szerovay, M. (2022). Finland : Civic activities, growing participation, diversification, and professionalisation. In Book of Abstracts : 1st Nordic Football Conference : The Game Through Many Lenses, 11-12 May 2022, University of Jyväskylä, Finland (pp. 35). Jyväskylän yliopisto. https://www.jyu.fi/en/congress/nordic-football-conference/book-of-abstracts/abstraktikirja-v05.pdf

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsItkonen, Hannu; Nevala, Arto; Szerovay, Mihaly

Parent publicationBook of Abstracts : 1st Nordic Football Conference : The Game Through Many Lenses, 11-12 May 2022, University of Jyväskylä, Finland


  • Nordic Football Conference

Place and date of conferenceJyväskylä, Finland11.-12.5.2022

Publication year2022

Pages range35

Number of pages in the book45

PublisherJyväskylän yliopisto

Place of PublicationJyväskylä

Publication countryFinland

Publication languageEnglish

Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/85035

Web address where publication is availablehttps://www.jyu.fi/en/congress/nordic-football-conference/book-of-abstracts/abstraktikirja-v05.pdf


Football arrived in Finland with English seamen in the late nineteenth century. Although Finland engaged in international football as early as the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, football did not become a popular national game. The Football Association of Finland (FAF) emphasised that football should be developed according to amateur principles. Between the World Wars, football had to fight with the Finnish version of baseball (pesäpallo) for living space. Football has been a sport of the cities and urban areas and spread to the countryside slowly. Nevertheless, unlike in other sport domains with a split between non-socialist and workers’ sport movements until the 1990s, the FAF united the political sides from the 1940s. The well-functioning civic sector, the agricultural economic structure, the slow urbanisation, and the lack of facilities prevented the emergence of market-oriented professional football. While football is the largest sport as measured by the number of players, this has not been transformed into international success or growth in attendance. Consequently, Finland has undergone modernisation and nation-building processes without any significant addition from football. In the 1970s, the commercial sector began to gain relevance in the sport environment. The men’s league was set up in 1989 and the women’s league was established in 2006. While these point to the differentiation in the sports landscape, no considerable football business has evolved; even today, elite football is characterised by various levels of semi-professionalism. International games at all levels as well as increasing player migration have bound Finland more closely to the global football system.

Keywordsfootballtypes of sportssports clubscivic activismprofessionalisationinternationalisation

Free keywordsFinland; Nordic country; civic society

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingWon't be reported

Last updated on 2024-15-06 at 23:06