The game in Finland has continued to rise in popularity – and development work has been a crucial catalyst for on-field success at various levels.
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The association has drawn up a series of strategic goals:
- Goal-oriented leadership of clubs through a networking process.
- Ensuring that football is the biggest sport on and off the field.
- The Football Association of Finland (SPL-FBF) should be seen as progressive and supporting the clubs.
The biggest challenge that Finland faces in its growth strategy is the country's demographics. Consequently, the association is investing heavily in education at all levels – with the main priority being to offer a well-trained and competent coach for every player in the country.
The growth in the number of registered players during the previous strategy period was 4% in total, and almost 12% among women and girls.
"We will strive for growth. An effort must be made at all levels of the game to increase participation, and for women and girls in particular."
Ari Lahti, SPL-FBF president
During the pandemic, the association took a very active role by pursuing continuous dialogue with decision-making bodies at all levels. This support has helped Finland's football community to survive during these extremely challenging times. A major goal has been to ensure that everything was ready for the restart of activities.
Qualification for UEFA EURO 2020, Women's EURO 2022 and the 2022 UEFA Futsal EURO is the result of the association's long-term commitment to the development of the game at all levels in Finland. There is great pride in these achievements, which provides the motivation to enhance development work in the future. Progress is guaranteed through the current 2020–24 national strategy for football and futsal.
The association has invested heavily in developing the best possible infrastructure for football players at all levels. The role of UEFA's HatTrick programme has been essential in those efforts. Various projects are receiving UEFA HatTrick support, including:
Artificial pitches, indoor football halls and club training centres
- Helping regions, clubs and municipalities to improve their football facilities.
- Supporting the construction of new football facilities.
- Providing more playing opportunities across the country.
Infrastructure development programme
- Encouraging clubs and municipalities to launch new stadium and/or stadium renovation projects.
- Supporting club development and enhancing the vitality and quality of top football clubs. Improved football infrastructures provide an additional opportunity to increase match-day revenues and achieve economic success.
- Supporting stadium development projects, in particular for venues that do not meet safety and security requirements, SPL-FBF club licensing requirements, etc.
Finnish clubs will benefit from better facilities and will be able to play all year around.
Development process of the regional centres of excellence
Because Finland covers a very extensive area, the SPL-FBF decided to establish regional centres of excellence to cover all parts of the country. In addition to the Eerikkilä Sports Institute in Tammela, the council and board of the SPL-FBF decided to set up two regional centres of excellence in the northern and central parts of the country.
Results are visible in players' and clubs' development. The clubs are working in a more professional way and are developing the players more systematically than before. In order to enhance the quality of this plan, as well as the quality of elite football (players and coaches), the SPL-FBF aims to strengthen the workforce within the regional centres.
National team history
Date of birth: 15 March 1963
Association president since: 2018
Date of birth: 4 April 1972
Association general secretary since: 2013