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Previous UEFA presidents



Michel Platini (France)

Term of office: 26 January 2007 – 14 September 2016

Michel Platini embarked on a career as a football administrator, in France as well as at FIFA and UEFA, after an outstanding career as both a player and a coach. Among his countless achievements on the pitch, he captained hosts France to the EURO title in 1984, received the Ballon d'Or as European Footballer of the Year three times in a row (1983, 1984 and 1985) and coached the French men’s national team from 1988 to 1992.

Michel Platini was UEFA President between 2007 and 2016
Michel Platini was UEFA President between 2007 and 2016©UEFA.com

Michel Platini served as a member of the UEFA Technical Development Committee, before being voted in as a member of the UEFA Executive Committee in 2002. He was elected as UEFA's sixth president at the UEFA Congress in Düsseldorf on 26 January 2007, subsequently twice securing re-election – in March 2011 and March 2015.

Michel Platini oversaw the introduction of financial fair play measures to stabilise European clubs' financial management and intensified the organisation’s fight against match-fixing, racism and violence in stadiums. During his time in charge, UEFA strengthened relations with its member associations, in particular encouraging best practice and knowledge sharing for the wider benefit of European football. UEFA's club and national team competitions continued to evolve under the mantra of ‘Football First’.

Michel Platini resigned as UEFA president on 14 September 2016.

Lennart Johansson (Sweden)

Term of office: 19 April 1990 – 26 January 2007

After gaining administrative experience with his home-town club AIK Solna, Lennart Johansson rose through the ranks of the Swedish Football Association before serving as its president from 1984 to 1991. He was elected as UEFA's fifth president at the UEFA Congress in Malta in 1990, a position he held until January 2007.

Sweden's Lennart Johansson was UEFA President for 17 years
Sweden's Lennart Johansson was UEFA President for 17 years©UEFA.com

During Lennart Johansson's term of office, the face of the European game was transformed, on and off the pitch. UEFA itself developed from a purely administrative body based in the Swiss capital of Berne to a dynamic, modern business located in custom-built headquarters in the town of Nyon in western Switzerland. At the start of the 1990s, the UEFA Champions League was launched as the world's most prestigious club competition – an unrivalled sporting and commercial event, played by the world's best players and followed by millions of football fans.

National team football also flourished, with the UEFA European Championship final round (the UEFA EURO) emerging as one of the most popular events on the global sports calendar, alongside the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games.

Lennart Johansson was proposed as honorary UEFA president by his successor Michel Platini at the UEFA Congress in Düsseldorf in January 2007. He died on 4 June 2019 at the age of 89.

Jacques Georges (France)

Term of office: 12 August 1983 – 19 April 1990

As UEFA's serving first vice-president, Jacques Georges assumed the role of acting UEFA president following the tragic death of Artemio Franchi in August 1983. He was elected as UEFA’s fourth president at the next UEFA Congress, in Paris in 1984.

Jacques Georges (left) with former UEFA General Secretary Hans Bangerter
Jacques Georges (left) with former UEFA General Secretary Hans Bangerter©UEFA

Born on 30 May 1916, Jacques Georges' career as a football administrator started in the Vosges region of eastern France in the late 1940s and spanned more than half a century. Elected to the French Football Federation's executive body in 1961, he was appointed director of the national team before becoming French Football Federation president in 1968.

With a deep understanding of the game and wider European issues, Jacques Georges was elected to the UEFA Executive Committee in 1972. In a period of rapidly expanding media coverage of football, he played an instrumental role in modernising the organisation.

As UEFA president, the Frenchman helped lay the foundations for the UEFA Champions League, before stepping down in 1990. Awarded the title of honorary UEFA president, Jacques Georges returned to his previous role as French Football Federation president. He died in February 2004.

Artemio Franchi (Italy)

Term of office: 15 March 1973 – 12 August 1983

Artemio Franchi was a skilled football administrator and accomplished diplomat, whose life was tragically cut short by a road accident in Tuscany in August 1983. He was elected as UEFA's third president at the UEFA Congress in Rome in March 1973 and held the role until his death.

Artemio Franchi was UEFA President for ten years
Artemio Franchi was UEFA President for ten years©UEFA.com

Artemio Franchi started out as a player, before qualifying as a referee and then becoming a refereeing administrator. As president of Fiorentina, he rose through the ranks of the Italian Football League and Italian Football Federation (FIGC) to twice serve as FIGC president – from 1967 to 1976 and from 1978 to 1980.

He became a UEFA committee member in 1962, and, six years later, a UEFA vice-president. As UEFA president, he made a significant contribution to the modernisation of UEFA competitions, in particular, advocating for an increase in the number of teams in the 1980 European Championship finals in Italy and championing the creation of the UEFA Cup. Acutely aware of football's wider influence on society, Artemio Franchi was also tireless in his efforts to reduce violence in the game.

After his death, a UEFA competition was named in his honour, the Artemio Franchi Cup, which was played twice, in 1985 and 1993, between the European and South American national team champions.

Gustav Wiederkehr (Switzerland)

Term of office: 17 April 1962 – 7 July 1972

After serving as president of the Swiss Football Association since 1954, Gustav Wiederkehr was elected as UEFA's second president at the 1962 UEFA Congress in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Gustav Wiederkehr was UEFA's second president
Gustav Wiederkehr was UEFA's second president©UEFA

Born on 2 October 1905, his election as UEFA president came at a critical time in the organisation's development. Football was in a phase of rapid expansion, driven by the newly created UEFA club competitions, the advent of television and easier international travel.

Wiederkehr saw his role as helping to consolidate and strengthen Europe's prominent position within international football. He held office as UEFA president for ten years, until his sudden death in summer 1972.

Ebbe Schwartz (Denmark)

Term of office: 22 June 1954 – 17 April 1962

Danish football administrator Ebbe Schwartz was an ideal figure to take on the role of UEFA's first-ever president. He was known as a man of great diplomacy, enjoyed an international education and came from a country with a long football history – all skills that helped him navigate UEFA through its formative years following its birth in June 1954.

Denmark's Ebbe Schwartz was the first President of UEFA
Denmark's Ebbe Schwartz was the first President of UEFA©UEFA.com

Born in Copenhagen on 5 March 1901, Ebbe Schwartz was an expert in trade and commerce as joint owner of his family engineering works and iron foundry.

He played in goal for AB Copenhagen, but would make his mark as a football administrator, heading the Danish football delegation to the 1948 London Olympic Games, where the national team won a bronze medal. Two years later, he took on the role of Danish FA president – a position he held until his death in 1964.

Ebbe Schwartz served two four-year terms as UEFA president before leaving the post in the spring of 1962 to take up a seat on the FIFA Executive Committee.