Akranes - the town
The town of Akranes is situated on the west coast of Iceland (population around 6000) about 30 minutes drive from the capital Reykjavik. A journey from Reykjavik to Akranes use to involve a lengthy drive around the huge fjord Hvalfjörður until a new tunnel was built in 1998 which halves the journey. The town of Akranes could be best described as an industrial town with its cement factory, fish processing factory and ship yard.
The football club
Knattspyrnufelag ÍA (ÍA) were formed in 1946 and won their first league championship in 1951 becoming the first club outside of Reykjavik to do so. ÍA went on to win further league titles in 1953, 1954, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1970, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1983 and 1984. In 1990 the club finished in last place and were relegated but the following season they were promoted and this started a run of 5 consecutive league titles (1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996). The last league championship win came in 2001.
ÍA won their first Iceland Cup in 1978 and have also won it in 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1993, 1996, 2000 and 2003.
ÍA have played in all the European competitions on many occassions and have played some of Europes top clubs including Barcelona, Aberdeen, Feyenoord and Dinamo Kiev.
The club play their home games at the Akranesvöllur which has a capacity of around 3000, it is one of the best stadiums in Iceland. As well as regularly hosting Iceland under 21 internationals the senior team has also played a few games there too. The club will also use the Akraneshöllin (opened 2006) which has a full size indoor pitch.
In March 2013, a sponsorship deal was agreed with the Norðurál company to rename the Akranesvöllur. The stadium will now be known as the Norðurálsvöllurinn.
Football in Iceland
All football in Iceland is semi-professional and due to the weather conditions the league season usually starts in May and ends in September. Over the last few years full size indoor halls have opened in Keflavik, Reykjavik, Kópavogur, Akureyri and Akranes, this means that the clubs can train and play during the winter months. In 2008 the top division was expanded to 12 clubs and is currently sponsored by Pepsi (Pepsi deildin).
The Iceland Cup is played during the summer with the final being played in late September at the national stadium Laugardalsvöllur.
Before the league starts the League Cup is played and most of the games are played indoors between January and May.