Photo: Helsinki Cup


The Helsinki Cup, a paradise event for young football players, begins today. With a record-breaking number of participants, the largest tournament in its history boasts 1,796 teams and 27,000 players. The international tournament spreads across the entire Helsinki metropolitan area, with a notable presence in the streets during the opening parade on Tuesday.

This week, the playing fields of the capital region will be filled with football-loving children and teenagers, for whom the highlight of the summer is the Helsinki Cup.

"An internationally renowned tournament, breaking records, is now being held in the capital, attracting participants from all around the world. Our farthest visitors come from Brazil, the United States, Mongolia, and Mexico," says Kirsi Kavanne, CEO of Helsinki Cup.

The six-day tournament will feature approximately 5,600 matches played in Helsinki, Espoo, and Vantaa. The Helsinki Cup, now in its 48th edition, has enjoyed uninterrupted popularity throughout the years.

"Our age range for the tournament is 7 to 18 years old. In recent years, we have added several leagues for young children, specifically the 7-9-year-old age group. This year, we have a greater number of teams playing on full-size pitches, mainly players over 14 years old, including international participants. The number of girls' teams participating has also grown significantly, with over three hundred teams this year," Kavanne explains.

Efficient Operations and Safety at the Event

The tournament's immense popularity stems from the high quality it consistently delivers, earning Helsinki Cup the best feedback year after year. The playing fields are in excellent condition, the officiating is top-notch, match schedules are smooth, safety measures are in place, and the tournament program is designed to be hassle-free for participants.

"Helsinki Cup has evolved from a football tournament into an international grand event that overflows with joy, activities, and encounters both on and off the fields," proudly states Kavanne.

Although football is at the heart of Helsinki Cup, the side events are visible and audible throughout the capital. On Tuesday evening, football players will celebrate in a vibrant opening parade, winding its way from the Mäntymäki field to the Olympic Stadium, where the tournament will officially commence with ceremonial performances by top entertainers. The patron of Helsinki Cup 2023 is the President of the Republic of Finland, Sauli Niinistö. On Wednesday, tournament participants will groove to the rhythm of rising Finnish rap artists at the Love The Ball Center's Doritos Festival in Käpylä.

Emotional Experiences and Community Spirit at the Tournament

"Helsinki Cup is not just about playing football; it's about the joy of sports and working together. Alongside the memories created on the pitches, players also take home new friendships and experiences of the city's attractions," Kavanne emphasizes.

The majority of players will explore Helsinki, visit Korkeasaari or Suomenlinna, and enjoy their time together with their teammates in the summery capital.

"We expect nearly 300,000 spectators, including a large number of coaches, team managers, parents, other supporters, and passersby. Helsinki Cup is a community-driven urban event that spreads the joy of togetherness and sports," Kavanne states.

Of course, football will be played throughout the week of the tournament. On Friday and Saturday, the Olympic Stadium will host the finals, filled with moments of joy, laughter, disappointment, and even tears.

"Football always involves victories, defeats, and the excitement of the games, which collectively help in the development of emotional skills. Our goal is to provide a tournament atmosphere and create memories, as for many, this is the highlight of the summer," Kavanne expresses her delight.