Ex- UEFA president & UCL founder Lennart Johansson passes on at 89

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Lennart Johansson UCL founder

Former UEFA president & UCL founder Lennart Johansson passes on at 89.

Lennart Johansson led the invention of the Champions League during his 17 years as UEFA president which was introduced in 1992.

Late Johansson is best known for overseeing the introduction of the Champions League.

The Swede was elected to lead UEFA from 1990 to 2007 and also helped bring the European Championships to his homeland in 1992.

Swedish FA confirmed he had been battling an illness and passed away on Tuesday.

President Karl-Erik Nilsson said: “Lennart Johansson was our biggest international football leader of all time, no Swede has had a similar influence on football in the world.

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“He was deeply respected as UEFA president and vice president of FIFA, his leadership has aroused admiration worldwide.”

The UCL founder was also later made honorary president by UEFA, recognised for his work within the European game.

He also vied for the FIFA presidency but lost out to Sepp Blatter in 1998.

Johansson introduced group stages for the Champions League, with the European Cup previously being a straight a knockout tournament.

Multiple entrants from different countries were introduced into the competition, rather than just the domestic champions.

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FIFA chief Gianni Infantino express his sadness at the death of Johansson in a short statement.

“I am heartbroken by the news of the passing away of Lennart Johansson,” Infantino said.

“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.”

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