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SAJL is member of  Finnish Olympic Committee and International Federation of American Football IFAF.

American Football Association of Finland – SAJL is the government approved non-profit organization governing both American football and flag football activities in Finland.

Currently SAJL has 35 member clubs and 3000 lisence players playing in men's (4 levels) and women's (3 levels) leagues as well as in six different youth age categories U9-U20. SAJL is member of International Federation of American Football (IFAF).

2019 SAJL was celebrating it’s 40th anniversary.

Finnish club teams


American football came to Finland in the late 1970’s through high school students returning back from their exchange student in United States. And the first game was played between two high schools in 1976.

After few years of irregular high school games and friendy against team made out of US Embassy Marine Corps the first unofficial National Championship was played in 1979. And later that year American Football Association of Finland was founded and the game started to become club sport activity instead of a school sport. Football grew fast in late 1980’s and early 1990’s.

Finland's first national team was fielded in 1983 when men´s national team participated in the first ever European Championships of American football in Castergiorgio, Italy. Ever since that Finland has participated in all 1 final tournaments and has been crowned European Champion 5 times (1985, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999).

Finland has been the runner-up four times ((1983, 1989, 1991,2001) and three times the team has finished 3 rd (1987, 2005, 2018, 2021). 

In 2008 Finland played Sweden in the worlds first ever womens tackle international national team game.

Finnish ladies team won bronze in the first competition World Championships 2010 in Sweden.   2013 World championships were organized in  Vantaa, Finland. Finland took the bronze medals again. 2017 World Championship games were in Vancouver, Canada and Finland was 5th. 2022 Finland took third time bronze medals in WWC 2022 in Vantaa Finland.

2015 Finland won the first European title in Granada, Spain. Team Finland was #1 again in 2019 European Championship tournament in Leeds, Great Britain.




Finland's men's youth U19 (19 and under) National team participated in first Junior European Championships in Nice, France 1992 and won the tournament. Finland was crowned as a European Junior Champion the first 3 times (1992, 1994, 1996). 1998 team Finland ended up to third place.

Finland also runs boys U17 national team that is playing every two years in Nordic championships. Finland has won Nordic champinship 2008, 2013 and 2017.

Finland has also started its womens U19 national team program in 2015.

MENS LEAGUES First senior league was played in 1979 and the equipment came mandatory next year at that point as well. The National Champion is determined in Maple Bowl and the highest league is called the Maple League.

League's powerhouse has been the Helsinki Roosters with 22 National Championships. Helsinki East City Giants and Porvoo Butchers both have 6 championships.

Since 2017 all the Maple League games have been televised.

Kimi Linnainmaa
Chris Mulumba

First finnish player  who was tested by NFL was linebacker Matti Lindholm who joined Minnesota Vikings camp 1987. Some finnish players have played in former NFL-Europe league. Tight end Klaus Alinen bounced from NFL Europe to Atlanta Falcons' organization and defensive tackle Michael Quarshie (Columbia) joined Oakland Raiders development team. Tight end Iiro Luoto went to New York Jets's development team. Offensive tackle Seppo Evwaraye (Nebraska) ended his career with Minnesota Vikings development team. Offensive guard Karri Kuuttila (Lockhaven) attend 2011 St. Louis Rams camp. Canadian-finn runningback Taylor Varga played one season for Indianapolis Colts 2016.

2018  season  dt Filip Zacok played his first college football games in Indiana State. Defensive end Ville Valasti finished his college career in Eastern Michigan. 2019 offensive tackle Väinö Pääkkönen started his college career in Townson University. Wide receiver Daniel Luoma will join Eastern Illinois football for season 2020.

2019 First finnish player Kimi Linnainmaa made his debut in  CFL. Wide receiver joined Toronto Argonauts for the season 2019. 2020 Former  Colorado Buffaloes defensive end Chris Mulumba was selected to NFL pathway program and will fight for a rosterspot for season 2020. 2021 Mulumba started his pro career in CFL Hamilton Tiger-Cats.