The Helsinki Times on The Helsinki Cup

With 800 teams from nearly 30 countries, the Helsinki Cup is the biggest youth football tournament in Finland. Organised by FC Honka and Käpylän Pallo since 1976, the competition attracts some of the biggest clubs in world football, including Mexican giants Cruz Azul last year.

Like the Gothia Cup in Sweden, the Helsinki Cup attracts clubs from all over the world. In 1976 there were 211 teams present, but now the competition has grown to be just over half as big as it’s Swedish counterpart.

The point of the competition is not so much the elite teams that come from all over the world to test their wits against international opposition. Rather, for Finnish clubs, the idea is that the players learn a different style of play and of communication with young footballers from all over the world. One tradition that has helped inter-cultural communication no end is the sponsoring of teams from less privileged backgrounds by their Finnish peers, something that helped many sides from the former Soviet Union attend the tournament during the 1990s.

This ethos lives on in the current SPL campaigns – kaikki pelaa (everybody plays) and an anti-racism campaign currently airing on Finnish TV. At the Helsinki Cup the match referee gives a green “fair play” card to a player on each team. All players given a fair play card during the tournament then enter a raffle to win the Fair Play award for their age group.

Teams are accommodated in schools around Helsinki, with players travelling to their games by bus. The finals take place at Finnair Stadium in Töölö over two days from 11 July, and games will be taking place all over the city from Sunday 6 July.


2 Responses

  1. […] in Kajaani Posted on 12 July, 2008 by Egan I wrote something for this week’s Helsinki Times about the Nigerians playing for KajHa in Kajaani. You can read the post over at Pitch Invasion. […]

  2. I need to talk with the person responsible for international teams. I work many years organizing teams from Rio de Janeiro to play in Minneapolis.
    I have a team that is interested in join your event, so I need some more details . I wil be waiting for your answer. Sincerely thanks, Gelda Carvalho

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