Frequent emissions, making loss and even receiving criminal money have been familiar issues in the Finnish football lately. The first division of our country has changed from a full-professional league to a half-professional league in ten years. This has of course been opposite what the leaders of Finnish Veikkausliiga have been going for. Life hasn’t been a bed of roses for the Finnish ice hockey league either. Iltalehti released a piece of news that the Finnish league (SM-Liiga) clubs have made a loss of more than 12 million euros in six years. Financial problems are familiar everywhere.
It isn’t a miracle that Veikkausliiga has changed to a half-professional league. If you look back to the early 90s recession and compare it to the situation going on now, we can see that this happened only twenty years ago. Briefly said: recession affects first and most sports and culture. Companies with financial problems save first from sportsmarketing, not to mention corporations that generously support clubs without any marketing plans. Households save also money from sports and culture. People stop buying season tickets and just go to see a few games during the whole season. The increase in prices and the weakening of people’s purchasing power has made the operation of professional football in Finland almost impossible.
Although everything seems to be quite badly, we must remember that there are also positive things going on in the Finnish football at the moment. Our flagship team HJK has systematically been able to increase their real capital, make profit and improve their brand. HJK’s previous financial statement was lost in plus side and we can expect the same result for next one too. SJK from Seinäjoki seems to also been able to do a successful job financially. SJK owner Raimo Sarajärvi has invested lots of money to the team but also invested the club’s money in real estates. Success on the field and upcoming UEFA Europe League games helps SJK massively also. SJK got already big football hall in Seinäjoki and they are building also new stadium to the Ostrobothnia. Personally I’m really looking forward to see what happens in Seinäjoki next.
Increasing attendance averages in the Finnish second division has also brought some positive light for us football fans. The reduction of teams in the division has helped to make the growth possible. Let’s hope that the growth continues.
The effect of global recession and the bad financial situation has been clearly visible in the Finnish football for a long time. Veikkausliiga hasn’t been improving but we mustn’t bee too worried about that. We need to look forward and support our local teams as well as we support our national team. We must remember that football is best right there on the spot.