STOCKHOLM (AP) — Lennart Johansson, who oversaw the introduction of the Champions League during a 17-year reign as president of European soccer's governing body, has died. He was 89.

Sweden's soccer association said the former UEFA president died Tuesday after a short illness.

Swedish Football Association president Karl-Erik Nilsson says "Lennart Johansson was our biggest international football leader of all time, no Swedish has had a similar influence on football in the world. He was deeply respected as UEFA president and vice president of FIFA, his leadership has aroused admiration worldwide."

Johansson was elected to lead UEFA from 1990 to 2007 when he was beaten in the presidential election by former France great Michel Platini. Johansson sought the FIFA presidency in 1998 but lost to Sepp Blatter.

Johansson did reshape European soccer with a radical transformation of the European Cup into the Champions League in 1992 and the eventual expansion that saw non-domestic champions given the entry.


More AP soccer: and—Sports

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