Finland state

Youth football in Finland – Sports Mole

In Finland, tens of thousands of boys and girls play and train in the colors of hundreds of clubs every week. In total, there are over 130,000 registered football players in the country.


In Finland, tens of thousands of boys and girls play and train in the colors of hundreds of clubs every week. In total, there are over 130,000 registered football players in the country.

Finland’s top youth football clubs have recently released staggering figures on the positive impact of their youth activities on society. One of them said his social benefits were close to 40 million euros and the other almost 30 million.

The calculations have been made by a project under the auspices of UEFA, the European Football Association, and do not include men’s and women’s teams. The model used by UEFA measures the social return on capital invested in football.

Figures provided by two of the biggest teams and UEFA’s calculation methodology at the club’s request were reviewed. EFA used the best expertise in Europe to perform the calculations. Research institutes and universities supported the methodology.

Fund youth football

In Finland, youth football is mainly funded by the state, but a large part of club activities is funded by parents and voluntary work. There is currently a debate about whether changes to gambling legislation could make it easier to get funding. In the future, parhaat kolikkopelit, as the Finns say, that is, casino games, could be an option for recreational activities. This would be done through sponsorship agreements.

Casino companies, if only they were allowed to operate officially and pay taxes in the Finnish market, could also advertise more clearly. Then they could also support youth football with their activities.

Youth football fights disease

When evaluating the activities of sports clubs and various organizations and associations, it would make more sense to look beyond the euro below the balance sheet line. Indeed, these figures show the overall impact of football on society, which is far greater than what can be deduced from the financial statements.

UEFA attaches particular importance to the health and social impact. Football is considered to contribute to academic success, further education and employment, as well as to the prevention of crime and social exclusion.

On the health side, youth football helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and mental health issues, among others.

Youth football involved in the daily lives of families

For many teams, the sport requires a certain level of commitment from the whole family, which greatly increases the number of people directly involved in football.

These figures suggest that it is safe to say that football clubs and youth sports in general are an important part of local community life in Finland.

If the two biggest youth clubs generate a combined annual profit for society of €65 million, can it be estimated that the hundreds of football clubs in Finland generate a combined profit of at least €100 million?

Most likely yes, at least in terms of broader social impact, that’s probably the order of magnitude. The total is probably even higher.

Calculating health, human and social impacts rather than financial statements is actually such a good way to measure things that it could be used in society at large, not just for sports clubs.

Moreover, if we talk about social decision-making, it is precisely the task of elected decision-makers in councils, parliament and other bodies to make these value choices.

Of course, at some point you have to look at the money, but you have to be able to see the broader social impact, especially the long-term impact, when making decisions.
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