Former UEFA president and architect of modern Champions League Lennart Johansson dies, aged 89

5 Jun

Swden’s Football Association has announced that Lennart Johansson, the former UEFA president has died at the age of 89.

Johansson headed the governing body from 1990 to 2007 and is most recognised for making the Champions League what is today following its re-branding from the European Cup in 1992.

Former UEFA president Lennart Johansson has died, aged 89 after a short illness
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FIFA president Gianni Infantino led the tributes to Johansson.

“I am heartbroken by the news of the passing away of Lennart Johansson,” he said, in a statement on the FIFA website.

“He was a friend and an invaluable source of wisdom and inspiration.

“I will be forever grateful for having had him as the president of UEFA when I joined the organisation in 2000. Since then, Lennart has always been a role model of professionalism and, more importantly, of humanity.”

Swedish FA chairman Karl-Erik Nilsson said: “Lennart Johansson is our greatest international football leader of all time.

“His actions as UEFA president and vice president of FIFA are deeply respected. His leadership is admired the world over.

“I remember Lennart Johansson as a committed and wise leader with an immeasurable integrity, I also remember him as a warm and humorous person with an infinite love of football.

“I met him as recently as a week ago, in connection with the Europa League final in Baku. It was always a hearty meeting, filled with joy and rewarding football discussions.”

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Before England play the Netherlands in the Nations League, there will be a minute’s silence[/caption]

Johansson was elected as UEFA’s fifth president, and he oversaw the organisation’s rise in prominence from being an administrative body to a modern sport organisation, based in Nyon, Switzerland.

Johansson also served as FIFA vice-president, but he lost a presidency contest to Sepp Blatter in 1998. He was also president of the Swedish FA from 1984 to 1991, and he had close ties with the AIK Solna club.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: “UEFA and European football are deeply saddened by the passing of Lennart Johansson, and I would like to express my sincerest condolences to his family and loved ones, as well as to the Swedish Football Association, on their loss.

“He was a devoted lover and servant of football, who put his passion at the heart of his life.

“He will always be remembered as a visionary leader, and as the architect of the UEFA Champions League, and world football will be always be grateful to him for all he has achieved for the beautiful game.”

UEFA announced a minute’s silence will be observed at the Nations League finals, European qualifiers and under-21 matches taking place this week.

UEFA plan to use video assistant referees in Champions League from next season

31 Aug

European football’s governing body UEFA plans to use video assistant referees (VAR) in the Champions League from the start of next season.

VAR was implemented during the World Cup to relatively widespread praise and is in the process of advanced testing in English football, where it is used in selected FA Cup and Carabao Cup fixtures.

The use of VAR at the World Cup was praised… even if there were some issue

Premier League clubs voted to delay implementation but it could be used in the top flight next season, when UEFA intends to roll it out in the Champions League.

The governing body plans to use it from the 2019-20 play-off round onwards – as well as in the UEFA Super Cup – with the Europa League following suit a season later.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: “For me, VAR is not completely clear, but we also know that there’s no way back anymore.

“Technology will come sooner or later. The plan for now is to use it from the next season. This is the plan but of course I am not an expert.

“But it is not so easy because we have to choose the provider, it’s not easy to organise a competition across the continent with all the referees, so we have some issues.”

Ceferin has made it clear the process to implement VAR is moving forward

Ceferin did not rule out VAR being used in this season’s Champions League final but said “for now it doesn’t look like it will happen”.

The UEFA president underlined the challenges brought by using the technology over a “huge territory”, with UEFA deputy secretary general Giorgio Marchetti echoing those sentiments.

“The president was correctly stressing the complexity of doing it,” Marchetti said.

“If I have to choose one thing, which I think is important that everybody is aware of, is that VAR is very much based on TV production because you use the TV feed.

“And unlike at the FIFA World Cup and all the leagues, we don’t have one TV production, we have as many as countries, which you see has a lot of complexities to it.

“In addition, we can’t probably centralise operations because of connectivity.

“So, you can’t get the same connectivity from Kazakhstan, from Germany and from Portugal, which means that most probably we have to decentralise all the operations.

“This makes the operation of VAR on a European scale very complex. Obviously (it is) not impossible, but very complex and it requires a longer planning for us but also for those that have to provide us, to supply us with technology.

“We have already tackled the market, so we are receiving offers to do it and if the executive committee decides to go ahead, to show the green light, we will be rolling it out, starting preparations with them, obviously with the referees as well.

“The Europa League would follow exactly like GLT (goal-line technology) because of this complexity – the complexity of the operations and also for the suppliers to supply all the technology, all the vans, the trucks going to the various venues and the operators. It takes time.

Premier League clubs voted against VAR being introduced in England’s top flight

“We have to see how the things go before rolling it out to the Europa League.

“For GLT we did the same. Champions League first season one, Europa League season two.”