Football in Finland
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.
The Goal Project
Funding from Goal was used to lay an artificial turf surface at the Finnair Stadium - one of the arenas used for the FIFA U-17 World Championship Finland 2003 (temporarily renamed the Töölö Stadium during the competition). This meant that matches during a final competition of a FIFA event were played on an artificial pitch for the first time ever. The stadium is owned by the City of Helsinki and is home to Finland's top two clubs - HJK and FC Jokerit. The national association has relocated some of its offices to a part of the south stand. The renovation that was required was part-financed by the FIFA Financial Assistance Programme. The Finnish FA hopes that this will encourage other cities to lay artificial pitches in their stadiums. This would make it possible to extend what is currently a very short season (May to November) and play top-flight matches on surfaces of a consistently good standard.
Use of FAP funds
Financing of Goal project
Artificial pitch for Finnair Stadium in Helsinki
Project approved
6 December 2002
Opened on 11 June 2003
Financed by
Goal USD 275,625 Local Government USD 166,493 Total cost USD 442,118