Finland AFL hosting men’s and women’s tournament in Turku for Festival of Football

The 2021 AFL Europe Festival of Football will see nearly 15 countries and up to 50 teams competing in local tournaments across Europe and all on the same day of Saturday, August 14th. We’re excited to share that the players in Finland will take part in the Festival of Football for their second consecutive year.

Helsinki Heatseekers are eyeing their second Festival of Football victory at Finland AFL’s four-team tournament, combining men’s and women’s players to compete in Turku.

Coming up against the Heatseekers will be the city’s home side in the Dockers, along with the Waasa Wombats and Uusimma Kangaroos.

The 9-a-side round robin format will remain the same from last year, and will be played just a few weeks out from Finland AFL’s 2021 premiership deciding tournament in September.

Coach of the Turku Dockers, Stephen Phillips, is looking forward to again being involved in the Festival of Football as well as hosting Finland’s tournament in Turku.

“The thing that was really nice about last year’s event was knowing that there were so many other matches going on around Europe, all on the same day,” said Phillips.

“It was really nice to feel connected to the whole community, especially because it had been such an isolated time and there hadn’t been any of the international tournaments.

“For us, we’re quite a small but tight community so these ‘tournament days’, which we usually only do a few of a year, are great for getting everyone together.

“Once we finish the day, most people tend to stick around so we can celebrate together. They’re always calendar highlights for the footy community in Finland.”

According to Phillips, heading into the event as favourites will be the defending Finland AFL (FAFL) premiers and last year’s victors, Helsinki.

“The Heatseekers have been strong for a long time here in Finland,” said Phillips.

“We [Turku] beat Helsinki in the grand final a few years ago, but the Heatseekers are always the team to watch out for.

“They’ve got some of the best Finnish and international players playing for them, and won the FAFL premiership at last year’s Festival of Football event.”

This time around, the FAFL premiers will not be decided at the Festival of Football, as Finland have scheduled in a tournament day in September with all teams heading to Töölön Pallokenttä, Helsinki.

Another tournament day was scheduled to take place in July too, but having to undergo a last-minute venue relocation, on top of increased booking demand for venues after restrictions in Finland were lifted, unfortunately made it too difficult for the event to go ahead.

The tournament day last month was going to be a ‘mixed game day’ featuring new teams with both male and female players, as well as welcoming any newcomers to the sport.

Finland AFL hosted a similar event last year, which was a huge success for the Finnish footy community, introducing three new women’s players as well as two juniors to the sport.

AFL Europe are looking forward to seeing the players in Finland return to competitive action after a long break, as well as the four Finnish teams back competing in the Festival of Football for a second consecutive year.

The day will play as a great lead up to Finland AFL’s tournament on September 4th, which will ultimately decide the 2021 FAFL premiers.

All Festival of Football tournaments will be played in accordance with local government guidelines and restrictions.

Jackson Jones – AFL Europe