Football might not be the first thing that springs to mind if you were to think of Finland.

Long winter nights, saunas, Lapland, reindeer. A quick google search highlights telecommunications company Nokia as its most famous exporter, and that it is renowned for being "the happiest country in the world" with the best education system and cleanest air… oh, and the hotel where this reporter has been staying boasts "the best tap water in the world", too.

Little mention of football, though. After all, ice hockey is the prominent sport here.

Finland qualified for Euro 2020, but their sole win in the competition was overshadowed by the fact it came in a game in which Denmark's Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch in Copenhagen, having suffered a cardiac arrest. It was the nation's first appearance at a major international tournament.

Not that there haven't been some notable Finnish players down the years. Jari Litmanen played for Ajax, Liverpool and Barcelona throughout a long career. Sami Hyypia spent a decade at Anfield from 1999 to 2009, while Jussi Jaaskelainen played in the Premier League for 18 years over spells with Bolton Wanderers and West Ham. Laura Osterberg-Kalmari was nominated for FIFA Women's Player of the Year in 2005 and 2006.

More recently, Teemu Pukki has impressed with Norwich and Lukas Hradecky has been one of the most consistent goalkeepers in the Bundesliga across recent seasons.

Hradecky, now at Bayer Leverkusen, made his name at Eintracht Frankfurt, and it is the German side – Europa League winners last season – who have travelled across the Baltic Sea to take on the might of Champions League holders Real Madrid in the Super Cup.

Litmanen, Osterberg-Kalmari and Jaaskelainen were all guests at UEFA's fan park on Tuesday, a day ahead of the match at the 36,000-capacity Olympic Stadium.

The Champions League, Europa League and Super Cup trophies were on show, though outside the fan park it would have been easy to miss that there was a major European match heading to the city. Indeed, on the opposite side of Helsinki’s grand central train station to UEFA's festivities, a music and arts festival was drawing a much larger crowd.

That will surely change on Wednesday.

Madrid are expected to bring approximately 1,800 fans. Meanwhile, 10,000 are anticipated to be arriving in support of Eintracht. 

The signs were there even as Stats Perform arrived in Helsinki on Monday, with pockets of Eintracht supporters travelling into the city. A day later, the fan park was mostly populated by local football fans enjoying the rare occasion of such a major sporting event – involving one of the world's biggest clubs – coming to their city.

Helsinki's centre will likely be a hub for Eintracht's travelling masses, and even as Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti ran the rule over his side in an opening training session on Tuesday, fans of the German team were making their presence heard outside the ground as the team coach departed.

It's nothing new, though. Barcelona coach Xavi was left furious last season after 30,000 visiting Eintracht fans were said to have managed to gain entry to Camp Nou to watch their team sensationally knock out Barcelona in the Europa League quarter-finals. For the final against Rangers, held in Seville, authorities estimated that 50,000 Eintracht supporters made their way to the Andalusian city.

"They played a big role, if I remember the game in Barca, 30,000, something special and it helped us a lot to perform at this level. They're not here to sightsee, they're here to support us because they believe in us," said goalkeeper Kevin Trapp in Eintracht's pre-match news conference.

"Tomorrow will be the same, we know there’s going to be 10,000 again. We try to give our best and be able to celebrate again. It's a huge part of this club, this team, it's helping us every time."

Eintracht might have the more raucous travelling support, but any local neutrals are likely to be in attendance to watch the stars of Madrid. Ancelotti, asked about his brief experience of Finland so far, compared the country to Canada, the home of his wife, and in training his team looked sharp as they put on a show for the assorted media and a small group of fans soaking in the late evening sun.

Karim Benzema and Luka Modric accompanied Ancelotti in Madrid's media conference, just two of the superstars set to line up in all-white on Wednesday. Ancelotti, as amiable and as composed as ever, confirmed both players would start – unless they had any objections. His team are just rounding off their pre-season, and there were some signs of players still shaking off some rustiness in the finishing drills that ended their practice session.

Eintracht opened their Bundesliga campaign with a 6-1 hammering at the hands of Bayern Munich, and head coach Oliver Glasner knows that, even if his side are underdogs, they cannot show such naivety against the 14-time European champions. With key player Filip Kostic absent to complete a move to Juventus, Eintracht must avoid another humiliation, even if it is an outstanding achievement to have reached this showpiece in the first place.

As for Helsinki, it might be a far cry from the football hotbeds of Paris, London, Milan, Munich or Madrid, but those cities have their fair share of big matches already. The welcome has been warm, the weather perfect and the stadium – constructed in the 1930s but recently renovated – an ideal venue.

Interviewed after his appearance at the fan park, Litmanen told Stats Perform: "It's very important for us to have this kind of game because we don't see these things very often. We cannot get the Champions League final we haven't been in the World Cup or the European championships. This is a big game for Finland."

Now it's time to enjoy the show.

UEFA has announced the introduction of semi-automatic offside technology, which will debut in the Super Cup and be used in the Champions League during the 2022-23 season.

SOAT's introduction will "allow VAR teams to determine offside situations quickly and more accurately", UEFA says, and will operate thanks to specialised cameras, which are able to track 29 different body points per player.

Set to be used in the Super Cup match between Real Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt in Helsinki on August 10, UEFA says the technology has been tested 188 times since 2010 – including all matches in last season's Champions League, knock-out fixtures in the Women's Champions League and during the UEFA Women's Euros, as well as other club competition finals.

"UEFA is constantly looking for new technological solutions to improve the game and support the work of the referees," UEFA Chief Refereeing Officer Roberto Rosetti said in a press release.

"The system is ready to be used in official matches and implemented at each Champions League venue."

UEFA also announced that English referee Michael Oliver will officiate the Super Cup final, who will be assisted by compatriots Stuart Burt and Simon Bennett.

Rumsas Donatas (Lithuania) will act as the fourth official, while the VAR role has been assigned to Tomasz Kwiatkowski (Poland), and he will be assisted by his fellow countryman Bartosz Frankowkski, as well as Tiago Bruno Lopes Martins (Portugal).

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has upheld FIFA and UEFA's decision to ban Russian national teams from their competitions.

Both governing bodies imposed the suspensions following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February.

The Football Union of Russia (FUR) lodged an appeal with CAS, with the men's national team having been preventing from trying to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar and the women unable to feature in the European Championship - which started this month.

Zenit, Sochi, CSKA Moscow and Dynamo Moscow also challenged UEFA's decision to leave them unable to play in European competitions.

CAS on Friday revealed all six challenges were dismissed by a panel of arbitrators.

A CAS statement said: "In all of these cases, the panel determined that the escalation of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and the public and government responses worldwide, created unforeseen and unprecedented circumstances to which FIFA and UEFA had to respond.

"In determining that Russian teams and clubs should not participate in competitions under their aegis while such circumstances persisted, the panel held that both parties acted within the scope of the discretion granted to them under their respective statutes and regulations.

"In so holding, the Panel found it unnecessary to characterise the nature of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, but only to focus on the consequences of such conflict for the competitions affected.

"The panel finds it unfortunate that the current military operations in Ukraine, for which Russian football teams, clubs, and players have themselves no responsibility, had, by reason of the decisions of FIFA and UEFA, such an adverse effect on them and Russian football generally, but those effects were, in the panel’s view, offset by the need for the secure and orderly conduct of football events for the rest of the world."

LaLiga has called for Kylian Mbappe's contract at Paris Saint-Germain to be ripped up, demanding French government officials act and league chiefs take a closer look at the capital club's spending.

France striker Mbappe signed a new three-year deal with PSG in May, turning down Real Madrid who had been courting him for the past year.

The terms of the contract have not been officially disclosed, but Mbappe is widely reported to have received a staggering signing-on fee as well as extraordinary wages. Figures of €100million for signing and €50m per season have been suggested.

Lawyer Juan Branco, representing LaLiga, told a news conference in France on Friday that Spanish league chiefs are ready to go to court to challenge PSG's finances.

Ligue 1 champions PSG have strenuously denied being in breach of financial fair play regulations, but the Spanish authorities have expressed doubts about the legitimacy of their vast recent outlay on players. PSG have been owned by the Doha-based Qatar Sports Investments since 2011.

LaLiga wants the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) and the DNCG, the body that oversees football club finances in France, to examine in detail whether the Mbappe deal should have been given the green light.

"We are going to request the repeal of the approval of Mbappe's contract from the minister of sports, because that is the supervisory authority of sports administration," Branco said.

"Subsequently, we will appeal to the LFP so that it acts via its legal commission the DNCG in order to operate a monitoring report on the accounts of PSG. This is a legal step which will allow us to establish whether Mbappe's contract is within the economic parameters which are imposed by the regulations of the DNCG and UEFA financial fair play."

PSG signed Lionel Messi last August after Barcelona ran out of money to hand their captain a new contract, and also acquired former Real Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos at the end of his Santiago Bernabeu stay.

Real Madrid were optimistic about landing Mbappe, but hopes in Spain that he would move to LaLiga were dashed.

Branco said LaLiga was prepared to take action via the administrative court of Paris to seek the quashing of Mbappe's contract.

The lawyer added: "We are going to proceed in the form of a graduated response. We are going to see little by little what is the capacity of the French professional footballing bodies and also regulatory and administrative authorities to react to our appeals and our requests.

"As time goes by, we will increase the pressure."

LaLiga has also complained to UEFA, European football's governing body, about PSG, as well as Manchester City.

Javier Tebas, the Spanish league's president, this week claimed the agreement between PSG and Mbappe was "an insult to football".

Branco said LaLiga would "go upmarket... harden our game" if necessary, saying it considers the French capital giants to be spending on a "fraudulent" scale.

That accusation has been consistently denied by PSG.

Sepp Blatter has denied approving fraudulent payments to Michel Platini while he was president of FIFA, saying the cash transfer was a "gentleman's agreement" between the pair.

Blatter and Platini were last year charged with fraud and other offences by Swiss authorities relating to a payment of 2million Swiss francs made by world football's governing body to the ex-UEFA chief in 2011.

The trial at the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona was due to start on Wednesday, but Blatter was unable to attend as he was suffering from chest pains.

Blatter provided his testimony on Thursday, stating he asked former France captain Platini to work for FIFA as an advisor when he was elected as president in 1998.

The 86-year-old said the governing body could not afford the CHF 1m per year Platini asked for but agreed to pay him CHF 300,000 a year, with the remaining cash to be settled up at a later date.

Blatter said in court: "I knew when we started with Michel Platini that is not the total, and we would look at it later,"

He stated that they shook hands on a "gentleman's agreement".

Blatter added: "It was an agreement between two sportsmen. I found nothing wrong with that."

Platini said: "I trusted the president and knew he would pay me one day."

The 66-year-old Platini told the court he did not need the money he was owed when he stopped working for FIFA in 2002, a time when Blatter claimed the governing body was "broke".

It was not until January 2011 he asked FIFA to pay up after hearing two former employees had received substantial payments, and Platini revealed he was paid 10 days after sending an invoice, with Blatter approving the transfer.

Blatter was originally banned from footballing activities for eight years, reduced to six, by FIFA in 2015 following an Ethics Committee investigation that described the payment as "disloyal". Platini was also given an eight-year suspension, which was later reduced.

Swiss Blatter has been charged with fraud, misappropriation, criminal mismanagement and forgery of a document. Platini has been charged with fraud, participating in misappropriation, participating in criminal mismanagement and forgery of a document.

Both Blatter and Platini deny any wrongdoing. The case continues.

Gareth Southgate was perplexed as to why Hungarian children booed England players when they took the knee before the Three Lions' shock Nations League defeat on Saturday.

Dominik Szoboszlai's second-half penalty gave Hungary a shock 1-0 victory at the Puskas Arena.

The League A Group 3 game was supposed to be played behind closed doors as punishment for racist behaviour in the same stadium during Euro 2020 last year.

Yet children were allowed to attend the game and a crowd of 35,000 watched England's record 22-game unbeaten run come to an end in Budapest.

There were boos when England players took the knee prior to kick-off in the same stadium where some of Southgate's players were subjected to racist abuse during a World Cup qualifier in September.

England manager Southgate told Channel 4: "The first thing is that is why we do it [take the knee], to try to educate people around the world. I have no idea why people would choose to boo that gesture.

"I think very often, young people especially, they can't know why they are doing it really, so they are being influenced by older adults. The UEFA decision [to allow people into the ground], that is for other people to decide.

"I think we've made our stand as a team, everybody knows what we believe and what we stand for. I think tonight, I've got to focus on the football. When you lose, you can't be talking too much about other areas because I think that would be a lack of responsibility for the result."

Southgate said there could be no excuse for a substandard display from England, although he questioned referee Artur Dias' decision to award Hungary a penalty when Reece James was adjudged to have fouled Zsolt Nagy.

"We have to accept that we did not do enough to win the game, a draw would have been the fair outcome," he said. "We did not create too many clear-cut chances and the actual result hinged on a decision which is harsh but probably won't be overturned.

"Once it has been given as a penalty, he probably will not overturn it. You see challenges like that in the box, Reece James puts his body between the ball and the forward makes a meal of it. Away from home sometimes you will get those calls.

"It has [been a long season], but the heat was a factor and took a lot out of the players, and we tried to refresh the team earlier than normal.

"The balance of finding out about new things and the consistency of the regular team, I have to look at whether I got that right.

"I don't want to be too harsh on them, these are games where we need to learn from. They are bitterly disappointed because we want to keep winning matches. If we want to be a team right at the top tier of football, we need to come here and win."

Gareth Southgate hopes Hungary being forced to play their Nations League opener against England behind closed doors will serve to demonstrate the unacceptability of racism to younger fans.

Saturday's sparse crowd at the Puskas Arena will be populated by children after UEFA issued Hungary with a three-match spectator ban due to racist abuse by supporters during Euro 2020 games in Budapest.

UEFA rules state children - along with one adult for every 10 young fans - can attend behind-closed-doors matches, which England will also take advantage of when they also serve a one-match spectator ban during their home game against Italy at Molineux on June 11.

England's punishment was handed down after crowd trouble broke out prior to the Three Lions' Euro 2020 final loss to Roberto Mancini's men last July.

Southgate's side have been faced with unsavoury scenes when visiting Hungary before, with Raheem Sterling and other black players the target of abuse during England's 4-0 win in Budapest in September 2021 – with FIFA giving the hosts a separate spectator ban after those events.

Speaking at his pre-match news conference, Southgate stated his hope that allowing young fans to attend in such circumstances will help to bring about a future free of discrimination.

"I imagine Hungary will have the same feelings about restrictions on their home games as us, they won't want it to happen again. Everybody learns from every experience," he said.

"Our players wanted to focus on the football after that night [last year's 4-0 win]. They played incredibly well, and we want to do that again.

"We've shown how we feel about these issues, in terms of racism and it's unacceptability. Hopefully the young people in the stadium will recognise why this opportunity has happened and, in some ways, maybe this will be part of the education for the next generation.

"Each generation that passes will bring more tolerance, and we have the same situation in our country, so we've got to keep setting the right example. All being well, the young people will enjoy the game and take a bigger message from it."

Meanwhile, England skipper Harry Kane, who scored during the dominant win in Hungary last year, says the Three Lions are focused on what they can do on the pitch.

"Obviously, the way the players responded during that game was a credit to themselves," he recalled.

"It's down to UEFA and what they see fit as the punishment. We can only perform to the best of our ability and try and get the three points. 

"We hope the game goes well for the fans watching, for the children coming to watch the players. We're concentrating on the game, and we want to get off to a good start."

England have faced Hungary regularly in recent years, also drawing 1-1 with Marco Rossi's team in a World Cup qualifier last October, and will encounter them twice more within the next fortnight.

Southgate believes that Wembley stalemate provided a better representation of Hungary's strength than the previous meeting in Budapest, and is prepared for a challenging contest.

"The match in Budapest was one of the more different performances I've seen from Hungary over the past two or three years," he added, "Normally they are very difficult to score goals against, we played very well too.

"At Wembley, it was more like the Hungarian side I've seen, against the bigger sides particularly. They are difficult to break down, and it will be a tough match."

Rangers say only the "mutual respect of both sets of fans" prevented more severe problems from occurring when the Europa League final was staged in Seville this month.

Eintracht Frankfurt were crowned champions when they beat the Glasgow giants 5-4 on penalties at Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan on May 18.

Representatives of Rangers, the Bundesliga club and Football Supporters Europe (FSE) met last Friday to debrief and discuss "several significant organisational issues" during the final.

Rangers on Monday stated that fans were not treated with the respect and dignity that they should have been.

"Supporters Europe (FSE) met to debrief and discuss several significant organisational issues during the recent UEFA Europa League final in Sevilla," a club statement said.

"These issues could easily have led to even more severe problems on the night and it was only thanks to the calmness and mutual respect of both sets of fans towards each other that there were not more severe injuries suffered. All three parties applaud the remarkable calmness of the two fan bases, given the situation they faced.

"Apart from the severe lack of food and – even more critically in the soaring temperatures – of water, there were several organisational problems around policing, body searches and beyond. Both clubs, as well as FSE, received a huge amount of complaints and witness statements from fans present in the stadium.

"All three parties will now work jointly to report back to UEFA and the local public authorities in Spain, and will make recommendations to ensure these problems can never occur again at a European final.

"Fans spend a lot of effort, time and money following their teams all over Europe and expect to be treated with respect and dignity while attending football games. This expectation was not met at all at the Europa League final in Sevilla."

UEFA have come in for criticism following chaotic scenes outside the Stade de France ahead of the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool on Saturday.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin labelled the crowd trouble at the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy as unacceptable and warned it must never happen again.

Italy secured their first European Championship since 1968 with a penalty shoot-out victory over England at Wembley Stadium in July, but the game was marred by clashes before the final.

Hundreds of supporters without tickets attempted to gain entry prior to kick-off, with an independent review later concluding it was "clear we were close to fatalities and/or life-changing injuries for some, potentially many" of the fans in attendance after 17 mass breaches of Wembley's gates.

UEFA punished the Football Association (FA) with a two-game stadium ban, one of which is suspended for two years, and an £84,560 fine.

The FA subsequently apologised and said it was appalled at the disorder that saw ticketless fans fight with stewards and police officers in an attempt to force their way into the stadium.

Ceferin, who was in attendance at the final, reinforced his disappointment with the failures of football as he spoke to a UEFA congress in Vienna on Wednesday.

"We still have many problems to solve to make our sport a role model and greater source of inspiration than it is today," Ceferin said.

"The images of violence at Wembley Stadium at last year's Euro final are unacceptable.

"When a family goes to see a match of any competition, it should be a time for fun, celebration and enjoyment. People should feel safe in and around a stadium.

"They should never feel in danger. With the authorities' help, this cannot happen again. Ever."

 

UEFA has approved changes to the Champions League format from the 2024-25 season, including an increase to eight group-stage matches.

European football's governing body had already announced in April that the competition would expand from 32 teams to 36 in two seasons' time.

And following talks in Vienna on Tuesday, the UEFA Executive Committee confirmed the number of rounds in the group stage will increase from six to eight.

All group and knockout-stage games up until the final will continue to be staged on midweek days, as it currently the case.

Two of the four additional places in the expanded format will be awarded on the basis of the highest-performing countries from the past season across UEFA club competitions.

If that had been the case this season, an additional team from the Premier League and Eredivisie would have qualified for next season's tournament.

It had previously been reported that those two places would go to clubs on the basis of their historic performance in European competition, but that is no longer the case.

Of the other two spots, an extra team will qualify from the fifth-ranked country in Europe, while another will go to one of the domestic champions who do not qualify automatically.

Commenting on the changes, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, said: "UEFA has clearly shown today that we are fully committed to respecting the fundamental values of sport and to defending the key principle of open competitions, with qualification based on sporting merit, fully in line with the values and solidarity-based European sports model.

"Today's decisions conclude an extensive consultation process during which we listened to the ideas of fans, players, coaches, national associations, clubs and leagues to name but a few, with the aim to find the best solution for the development and success of European football, both domestically and on the international club stage."

Under the new format, the initial phase will contain a single league consisting of all 36 teams, with each side playing four home games and four away games against eight different opponents.

The top eight sides in the league will qualify automatically for the knockout stage, while the teams finishing in ninth to 24th place will compete in a two-legged play-off to secure their path to the last 16.

Ceferin added: "We are convinced that the format chosen strikes the right balance and that it will improve the competitive balance and generate solid revenues that can be distributed to clubs, leagues and into grassroots football across our continent while increasing the appeal and popularity of our club competitions.
 
"I am really pleased that it was a unanimous decision of the UEFA Executive Committee, with the European Club Association, European Leagues and National Associations all agreeing with the proposal made. Another proof that European football is more united than ever.

"Qualification will thus remain purely based on sporting performance and the dream to participate will remain for all clubs."

Similar format changes will also be applied to the Europa League and Europa Conference League, with both also including 36 teams in the initial league phase.

Jose Mourinho is "convinced" Roma will advance to the Europa Conference League semi-finals against Bodo/Glimt, insisting his side are "the best team" in the tie.

The Giallorossi boss also said he was not interested in discussing the controversy which erupted at the end of the two sides' first-leg clash, but pointedly highlighted Roma's "exemplary" conduct when losing to the same opponents last October.

Roma fell to a 2-1 reverse at the home of the Norwegian champions last Thursday, and are winless in their three head-to-head meetings with them this season (one draw, two losses), scoring just four goals and conceding 10.

Controversy erupted after the first-leg clash, with Bodo/Glimt boss Kjetil Knutsen and Roma goalkeeping coach Nuno Santos receiving bans from UEFA after the former accused Santos of assault in the tunnel after the game.

Mourinho, who is looking to deliver the capital club their first major trophy since 2008, said he was convinced Roma would prove they are "the best team" at the Stadio Olimpico, but refuted suggestions that there would be "tension" between the two camps on Thursday.

"I haven't seen any player feeling the tension, and I didn't in any of the three games we have already played," Mourinho said. "The first game [a 6-1 loss last October] was a historic defeat for us, as a club, and as professionals. But our conduct was, in my opinion, exemplary in the way we reacted to losing in the way we lost.

"We showed a spirit of fair play, a dignity and a comportment that was unusual. Usually, people react in negative ways to something like that, but we showed honour, outside of the humiliation of the result itself.

"What happened on Thursday evening was something detached from the contest. The game was normal, then there was an ugly moment, but one that bears no relation to anything else that happened [on the pitch].

"That's it. Tomorrow we just want to play, and I think that they just want to play. We want to reach the semi-finals and so do they.

"Tomorrow I am expecting a football match where the best team wins, and I am convinced that we are the best team."

Mourinho was also asked about Bodo/Glimt's repeated allegations that Santos had provoked the post-match altercation last week, after the Norwegian team saw an appeal against their head coach's ban rejected by UEFA.

Bodo/Glimt have also accused Roma of "bombarding the media with untruths' related to the incident, but Mourinho refused to be drawn on such comments.

 "I don't have to think about it," Mourinho added. "UEFA are the ones who think about it. I don't decide, UEFA decide.

"I don't have anything to say about what Bodo/Glimt have had to say. If you only want to ask me about what others have said about different things, then I am not interested in doing that."

Roma will be looking to build upon a strong home record in European knockout ties as they attempt to reach the final four. The Giallorossi are unbeaten in their last 11 home games played in the knockout stage of European competitions (nine wins, two draws), scoring in each of those games and averaging 2.2 goals per game.

Wales are among the countries to have declared an interest in hosting the 2022-23 Nations League finals.

UEFA confirmed on Wednesday that the football associations of Wales, Belgium, Poland and Netherlands have all declared their interest in making a bid, with the deadline to submit final bid dossiers not until October 5.

The league phase begins in June 2022, and will run until September, with a break between then and June to allow for the remainder of the domestic season and the 2022 World Cup.

The hosts will be confirmed in January 2023, with the finals due to be held from June 14-18.

The draw for the competition took place in December, with 2018 World Cup finalists France and Croatia together in Group A1, Spain and Portugal among those in Group A2, and the trio of Italy, England and Germany featuring in Group A3.

Interestingly, the four nations to have declared an interest in hosting the finals have all been pitted against one another in Group A4.

Portugal staged the first edition of the tournament in 2019, while Italy hosted in 2021.

Bodo/Glimt head coach Kjetil Knutsen will miss Thursday's Europa League Conference clash with Roma after UEFA dismissed the club's appeal against his suspension.

The 53-year-old alleged Giallorossi goalkeeping coach Nuno Santos assaulted him in the tunnel after the Norwegian champions claimed a 2-1 first-leg win over Roma in the competition's quarter-finals last week.

UEFA's Control, Ethics and Disciplinary body then provisionally suspended both men from all European competitions on Monday while its investigation into the incident continued, leading Bodo/Glimt to lodge an appeal.

However, European football's governing body has upheld its previous decision, announcing Knutsen "is provisionally suspended for the next UEFA club competition matches in which he would otherwise participate until the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body decides on the merits of the case".

Bodo/Glimt professed themselves "surprised and shocked" by the original decision to issue a ban to Knutsen, who accused Santos of grabbing him by the neck and pushing him against a wall after the match.

Roma were also accused by their rivals of "bombarding the media with untruths" relating to the incident, while Knutsen said he "considered whether it was really a good idea to continue working in football" after the altercation.

Bodo/Glimt travel to Rome for the decisive second leg of the tie on Thursday, having won 10 and drawn eight of their last 18 away games in all competitions.

The visitors claimed a 2-2 draw on their previous visit to the Stadio Olimpico in November and are unbeaten in three clashes with Jose Mourinho's team this season, winning two and drawing one. The Norwegian team have scored 10 goals and conceded just four in their head-to-head clashes with the Giallorossi.

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and ex-UEFA boss Michel Platini will go on trial facing corruption charges in June, Switzerland's Federal Criminal Court (FCC) has confirmed.

The pair were last year charged with fraud and other offences by Swiss authorities relating to a payment made in 2011.

Switzerland's attorney general's office (OAG) published an indictment following an investigation that began in 2015.

Both men "are accused of unlawfully arranging a payment of CHF2million from FIFA to Michel Platini", the OAG said at the time.

The date for the trial to start has now been set for June 8, with proceedings set to last until June 22.

The case centres on a payment made by FIFA to Platini in 2011, authorised by Blatter, which the OAG alleges "was made without a legal basis".

The indictment alleges that Platini demanded this CHF2million payment more than eight years after his work as a consultant for Blatter between 1999 and 2002 had come to an end, and that it "damaged FIFA's assets and unlawfully enriched Platini".

According to the indictment, Platini had allegedly been paid by FIFA an annual fee of CHF300,000 for his consultancy work. This amount had been agreed upon in a written contract, the indictment said.

Blatter was originally banned from footballing activities for eight years, reduced to six, by FIFA in 2015 following an Ethics Committee investigation that described the payment as "disloyal". Platini was also given an eight-year suspension.

Both Blatter and Platini have denied any wrongdoing, with the former FIFA president stating there was a "gentleman's agreement" over the payment.

Blatter has been charged with fraud, misappropriation, criminal mismanagement and forgery of a document. Platini has been charged with fraud, participating in misappropriation, participating in criminal mismanagement and forgery of a document.

Bodo/Glimt head coach Kjetil Knutsen and Roma goalkeeping coach Nuno Santos have been provisionally suspended by UEFA following assault allegations.

Santos was accused of assaulting Knutsen in the tunnel after Jose Mourinho's men fell to a 2-1 first-leg defeat in their Europa League Conference quarter-final in Norway last Thursday. 

Both clubs released statements in the aftermath of the incident, with Roma announcing that they were cooperating with UEFA and local authorities to investigate the claims.

The Norwegian champions accused their opponents of "bombarding the media with untruths" relating to the altercation, and European football's governing body has since announced its decision on the matter.

Both coaches will be provisionally suspended from European fixtures until a further ruling is made on the case by UEFA's Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body.

Knutsen alleged that Santos grabbed him by the neck and pushed him against a wall during a heated alteration outside the dressing rooms after the match.

The encounter marked the second time the Norwegian side have beaten Roma in this season's competition, with a first-half Lorenzo Pellegrini goal cancelled out by second-half strikes from Ulrik Saltnes and Hugo Vetlesen. 

Roma will attempt to overturn the first-leg deficit when they welcome Bodo/Glimt to the Stadio Olimpico for the crucial return leg on Thursday.

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