Former UEFA president and father of the Champions League, Lennart Johansson dead. He died at the age of 89.

The Swede who presided over European football for 17 years as its new Champions League turned into a global commercial juggernaut, Lennart Johansson has died following a short illness at the age of 89.

Lennart Johansson cause of death is not clearly stated, he is said to have died after a sort illness, Sweden’s Football Association said on Wednesday.

Lennart Johansson was the president of European football association UEFA from 1990 to 2007. He was a driving force behind the formation of the Champions League, giving the continent’s top club competition a new identity, a catchy anthem and worldwide reach.

His reign saw huge revenue streams flow into the continent’s big clubs, turning Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and others into multi-billion dollar enterprises, and their players into global megastars.

“World football will be always be grateful to him for all he has achieved for the beautiful game,” UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said in a statement. The Swedish FA said Swedish football was in mourning.

“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.”

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