Ykkönen is the second highest level of the Finnish football league system (after the Veikkausliiga), although it is the highest league, which is managed by the Finnish Football Association.
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The first league format competition in the second stage of Finnish football was called Suomensarja and was founded in 1936. Before the opening of the Suomensarja from 1930 to 1935 there were special qualifying matches for the right to play in the Mestaruussarja.
In the autumn of 1969, Finnish football underwent a reform of the league system and the Suomensarja was renamed II Divisioona (2nd Division) with regional divisions.
In 1973, this level of football became nationwide in Finland and the new name was 1st Divisioona ("First Division"). The name Ykkönen has been used since 1995.
Like the Veikkausliiga, the first league is played mainly in summer. It includes 10 clubs that play all three games against all other clubs in the division. The winner of the Ykkönen qualifies directly for the promotion to the Veikkausliiga, and the team, which takes the second place in the league, plays a two-legged ascent playoff against the team, which occupies the eleventh place in the Veikkausliiga. The two lower clubs descend directly to Kakkonen.
A total of ten teams contested the league, including five teams from the 2017 season, HIFK and JJK, who have descended from Veikkausliiga and Klubi 04, and AC Kajaani, who have risen after winning the promotion playoffs of Kakkonen.
OPS, which was denied a license for Ykkönen, has been replaced by FC KTP.
GrifK and Gnistan descended from 2017 Ykkönen.
TPS, 2017 champion Ykkönen, and FC Honka, 2017 runner-up Ykkönen, were promoted to the 2018 Veikkausliiga.
Finland's most important home matches will be played at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium in the capital city of Helsinki. It has been Finland's most important home stadium since its completion in 1938. Previously, the Pallokenttä was mainly used in Helsinki.
Today in Ratina Stadium in Tampere some qualifying matches against opponents with a lower profile and some friendlies will take place. Helsinkis Telia 5G -areena with artificial turf is also used for some friendly matches and qualifiers. During the reconstruction of the Helsinki Olympic Stadium in 2016-19, the Ratina Stadium will serve as the main stadium for the qualifying matches.
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