After ice hockey, football is the second most popular sport in Finland
, but compared with the winter sport, its popularity has grown significantly, especially among younger generations. By the end of 2002, the «All Stars» youth programme, which was introduced in 1998 in an effort to offer every boy and girl across the nation the opportunity to play football, had increased the number of children playing the sport by 44.3%. The F.U.N. programme, which was launched in collaboration with the Ministry for Education in 2001 in order to promote women's football, has also been extremely successful. As a direct result of the initiative, the number of female players registered with the national association has increased by 17%. Other successes include the nation's first-ever hosting of a FIFA competition (FIFA U-17 World Championship 2003) and qualification for the FIFA World Youth Championship Argentina 2001.