Sweden mourns Lars-Åke Lagrell

Swedish and European football are deeply saddened at the death aged 80 of former Swedish Football Association president and general secretary Lars-Åke Lagrell.

Former Swedish Football Association president Lars-Åke Lagrell has died aged 80
Former Swedish Football Association president Lars-Åke Lagrell has died aged 80 ©Sportsfile

Swedish and European football is in mourning for Lars-Åke Lagrell, who has died at the age of 80.

President of the Swedish Football Association (SvFF) between 1991 and 2012 after an 11-year spell as general secretary, Lagrell was a crucial figure in Sweden’s football development and a much-respected official within UEFA.

"Lars-Åke Lagrell has left us, and our feeling is of great sadness and loss," said the current SvFF president and UEFA first vice-president Karl-Erik Nilsson. "Hard work, commitment and boundless energy and passion epitomised Lars-Åke and his work.

"His efforts for Swedish football were invaluable, and he remains a source of inspiration for me and many others."

Lagrell started out in football administration at the age of 14 with local club IK Cyrus in his hometown of Jönköping. He also worked for regional clubs Östers IF and Jönköpings Södra IF, as well as for the governing body of football in the province of Småland.

Long and loyal relationship

In 1980, he joined the SvFF, beginning a working relationship that would last for more than 30 years. Lagrell first held the position of general secretary from 1980 to 1991 before taking the helm as president for the following two decades. He was also governor of the Kronoberg region in Småland from 2002 to 2006.

Under Lagrell’s presidency, Sweden’s men’s national team re-emerged from a fallow period to reach the semi-finals of EURO ‘92 on home soil, and finish third in the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States. Sweden also won a FIFA Women's World Cup silver medal in 2003 and bronze in 2011.

“Swedish football has nothing to thank me for,” said Lagrell modestly when he stepped down in 2012. “I’m the one who owes Swedish football thanks.”

UEFA committee career

Lagrell was also a highly valued UEFA committee member for many years, serving as National Team Competitions Committee chairman from 2000 to 2007 and first vice-chairman from 2007 to 2011. He was also first vice-chairman of the National Associations Committee from 2009 to 2011 and a co-opted member from 2011 to 2015.

He was a member of the UEFA Club Competitions Committee from 1992 to 2000, and sat on the EURO 2008 SA management board.

A member of the Amicale des Anciens circle of former UEFA committee members, Lagrell was awarded the UEFA Order of Merit in Diamond in 2016 for his services to European football.