LONDON: Swede Lars-Christer Olsson denied on 1 February 2006 that he had resigned as UEFA’s chief executive, but his immediate future as the senior management official of European soccer’s governing body remained highly uncertain.
Olsson, 57, was a very close ally of compatriot Lennart Johansson, who was voted out of office after 17 years as UEFA president last Friday, losing the presidential election to Frenchman Michel Platini at the UEFA Congress in Duesseldorf.
Platini has made no secret of his intention to take a far greater role as executive president of the organisation, which would make Olsson’s position untenable.
A UEFA source told Reuters: “The feeling here is now not if he will leave, but when.”
Olsson has been UEFA’s highest management official since succeeding Gerhard Aigner in January 2004 ,but he denied Swedish media reports that he had already quit.
He told Expressen newspaper: “I have not handed in my resignation. It is still unclear how things will turn out, but for the moment I am still here.”
However there have been a series of meetings at UEFA’s headquarters at Nyon in Switzerland this week and Olsson is expected to address UEFA employees at a staff meeting on Friday.
Olsson has had a major impact at UEFA in his three years as chief executive, initiating the Vision Europe project suggesting a way forward for European football, and supporting the European Sports Review designed to modernise and define the status of sport and soccer in European law.
Immediately after Platini’s election victory last week, Olsson was asked at a news conference about his future.
He told reporters: “Working in a political environment like UEFA where there are elections for the president or executive committee means you have to accept changes and work with them.”