Nilsson takes Swedish Football Association helm

Former international referee Karl-Erik Nilsson has succeeded the retiring Lars-Åke Lagrell as president of the Swedish Football Association and is relishing the challenge.

New Swedish FA (SvFF) president Karl-Erik Nilsson
New Swedish FA (SvFF) president Karl-Erik Nilsson ©Bildbyrån

Former FIFA referee Karl-Erik Nilsson has been appointed the new president of the Swedish Football Association (SvFF) and is already looking forward to an eventful year. "EURO 2012, the Olympic Games and a new national arena, these are some of the many exciting things happening," he said.

Nilsson, 54, takes over from Lars-Åke Lagrell, who steps down after 21 outstanding years as SvFF president. He is relishing the challenge. "I have been involved in football all my life and have leadership experience from different levels. I am really looking forward to it," said Nilsson.

Nilsson is a qualified schoolteacher and worked in that profession before going into politics, eventually serving as mayor of home town Emmaboda between 1995 and 2006, when he left active politics.

His first Allsvenskan match as a referee was in 1992, and only two years later he received the FIFA badge to officiate internationally. After 150 Allsvenskan games and 100 international matches, Nilsson hung up his whistle in July 2002.

Presently, Nilsson is also president of the football federation of the Bohuslan region of Sweden and a board member of IK Oddevold, in addition to his SvFF duties.

In 2009 he made excellent use of his leadership skills and footballing knowledge as tournament director of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

The tournament drew more than 160,000 people to its 15 matches and the Swedish team captured the imagination of locals, bowing out after a dramatic penalty shoot-out with England in the semi-finals. The 2009 experience has certainly whetted the appetite of the newly elected SvFF president. "Hopefully we will host more international events in Sweden. We need to be present on the international stage," he said.

This summer Sweden will be tilting at European glory at UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.