Former UEFA President Lennart Johansson dies aged 89

Lennart Johansson
Lennart Johansson (Photo Credit: lesoir.be)

Lennart Johansson, a Swede who presided over European soccer for 17 years as its Champions League turned into a global commercial juggernaut, has died after a short illness aged 89, Sweden’s Football Association said on Wednesday.

Johansson, president of European football association UEFA from 1990 to 2007, was a driving force behind the formation of the Champions League, giving the continent’s championship a new identity and a huge revenue stream for big clubs.

“Swedish football is in mourning,” the Swedish FA said in a statement.

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said Johansson would be remembered as the architect of the Champions League.

“World football will be always be grateful to him for all he has achieved for the beautiful game,” Ceferin said in a statement.

Johansson ran against Swiss Sepp Blatter to head football’s world governing body FIFA in an acrimonious vote in 1998 but lost.

Blatter, who led FIFA for 17 years, is serving a six-year ban from football for unethical conduct.

The men remained rivals. The Swedish FA quoted Johannson as saying: “It is my 20-year fight with Blatter that people like.”

Johansson took over the top job in European football at a turbulent time when money from television coverage was flooding into the sport and players gained complete freedom to move between countries and clubs in Europe.

“It was not a given that UEFA would be successful in meeting all these dramatic changes,” the Swedish FA said.

“The Champions League became an enormous success, but Lennart Johansson’s other major achievement was finding a fragile balance between the big clubs’ demands and the needs of the broader football family.”

Johansson was a lifelong supporter and honorary president of Stockholm club AIK.

(Reuters/NAN)

Advertisement

PT Mag Campaign AD

Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.

Donate


TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...



NEVER MISS A THING AGAIN! Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

DOWNLOAD THE PREMIUM TIMES MOBILE APP

Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.