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Eagle owls return to terrestrial television

Yle has agreed a deal to broadcast the men's national football team’s games from 2022 until 2028.

Huuhkajat Liechtenstein-ottelussa 2019
The Huuhkajat, or Eagle-owls, secured a place in the European Championship finals in November 2019. Image: Tomi Hänninen / Yle

Yle has secured the rights to broadcast the Finnish men’s international football matches from 2022 until 2028.

The deal was signed with European football’s governing body UEFA and includes the Huuhkajat’s (or 'eagle owls’) qualification matches for the 2026 World Cup and the 2024 and 2028 European Championships, as well as Nations League games and friendly matches.

Yle has also secured the rights to the finals of the men’s European Championship tournaments in both 2024 and 2028.

"As a public service company, it is important for us to be able to offer our citizens shared moments and great experiences. Now we have ensured that people in Finland will be offered these moments until 2028, when Yle will broadcast not only the eagle owls’ matches but also three Olympic Games and five football championship finals tournaments," Yle's CEO Merja Ylä-Anttila said.

The Finnish men’s national team’s matches had previously been shown by Yle until 2017, when the rights to broadcast competitive games were bought by the satellite and pay television company Viasat.

"We are very pleased that our cooperation with Yle will continue. Yle is Uefa’s long-term partner with extensive experience in broadcasting football matches," Uefa’s Director of Marketing Guy-Laurent Epstein commented.

Yle has also secured the rights to next year’s European Championship, which was postponed from this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the European Women's Football Championship, which was also postponed by one year -- to 2022.

In addition, the 2022 men's World Cup Finals will be shown on Yle.

"I am very pleased that with this significant acquisition we will be able to provide the eagle owls with a long-term home and continue our great tradition in the sport, whose popularity in Finland is growing," Yle's Head of Sport Rights and Partnerships Riku Saaranluoma said. "The cornerstone of the agreement is our partner UEFA's appreciation of Yle's ability to make finals tournaments big in Finland for both men's and women's football."

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