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Europa League football for Vaasa in 2014

VPS Vaasa will enter football’s UEFA Europa League in 2014 after securing third place in the 2013 Veikkausliiga. ”Vepsu” made sure of the bronze medal with one game left in the league programme.

VPS:n logo.

The Vaasa side confirmed their European qualification with a 3-0 win over local rivals FF Jaro. As neither IFK Mariehamn nor FC Lahti won their matches, VPS are now guaranteed to finish the Veikkausliiga season in third place and enter the first qualification round of the UEFA Europa League.

It will be the third time the Vaasa club have played in Europe.

Finland’s contingent in European competition in 2014-15 now includes RoPS Rovaniemi, from Lapland; VPS, from Ostrobothnia, and Honka Espoo and HJK Helsinki from the capital city region. As title-winners HJK will compete in the Champions League, with the others going into the Europa League.

Famous names on the up

Further down the football pyramid, on Saturday two famous names won promotion to Ykkönen, the second tier of Finnish football. Pori club FC Jazz and Helsinki side HIFK were both promoted to Ykkönen via the play-offs.

FC Jazz won their second leg play-off in Ekenäs, beating EIF 2-0 to clinch a 4-2 aggregate victory and secure a berth in Ykkönen in 2014. Jazz, who won two Veikkausliiga championships in the 1990s, will be playing at the highest level since they were re-formed in 2006 after bankruptcy.

In the other promotion play-off Helsinki club HIFK beat PS Kemi one-nil to make it back to Ykkönen at the first attempt following relegation last year. The seven-time Finnish champions last played in the top division in 1972.

By the time the 2014 season starts, Finland’s league structure could be facing a shakeup. Veikkausliiga clubs voted in August to look at expanding their 12-team league to 16 clubs, with knock-on effects for Ykkönen and lower divisions.

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