Finnish Football Culture and the Rise of SJK Seinäjoki

Episode 3

Lari talks about the origins of football culture in Finland, and the history of Seinäjoen Jalkapallokerho (SJK Seinäjoki).

Guest: Lari Paski, Supporters Liaison Officer at SJK and football fanatic

Download an MP3 file of Finnish Football Culture and the Rise of SJK Seinäjoki

Show Notes

In this episode I talk to Lari about how he was inspired to start following football. He tells me about running away from päiväkoti (kindergarten) to play football in the nearby park, and explains how watching an FA Cup game on TV, back in the 1980’s, sparked a love of football that continues to this day.

We also discuss that Finnish football goes way back to the 1930’s in Etelä-Pohjanmaa, and how previous professional clubs from Seinäjoki, Sepsi 78 and TP-55 Seinäjoki, had their time in the top league. Lari tells about the key role he played in igniting fan-culture in Finland, by starting a supporters club that travelled to away games to provide vocal support for their team, which was unusual at that time.

Lari explains the merger of these two clubs – by now struggling in division 2 – into SJK has seen a renewed professionalism in Seinäjoki football, under the Chairmanship of Raimo Sarajärvi. We also talk about the plans for the future, the development of a purpose-built ‘hillside’ football stadium in Seinäjoki, and the impact that SJK qualifying for the Europa League in 2014 will have on the club and the town.

This episode turned out to be something of a monster, over 50 minutes, but I found it interesting so decided to include as much of the conversation as possible. I hope you’ll also enjoy spending an hour in Lari’s company, I normally do…

Finnish words in the episode

Seinäjoen Jalkapallokerho – Seinäjoki FC

Klopit – SJK’s supporter group

Etelä-Pohjanmaa – South Ostrobothnia, region of Finland

Palloseura, or Jalkopallokerho – football club

Palloliitto – Finnish Football Association

Veikkausliiga – Finland’s top football division

Ykkonen – Division 1

Kakkonen – Division 2

Keskuskenttä – literally ‘Centre Field’ the home ground of SJK

Kerho 07 (nolla seiska) – Club 07, SJK’s reserve team

Päiväkoti – Literally ‘Day Home’ means Kindergarten; Day Care



SJK on Facebook

SJK on Twitter

Wallsport Areena


Escape to Suomi (Finnish football in English)


  1. Good website! I really love how it is simple on my eyes and the data are well written. I am wondering how I could be notified when a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your feed which must do the trick! Have a nice day!


    1. Thanks a lot. Yes subscribing to the website will keep you updated. You’ll also find me on social media if you search for ‘Explore Finland’. If you want to listen to the show, then check out iTunes or Stitcher Radio.
      ◊◊◊ Mark ◊◊◊


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