Michel Platini (France)
UEFA President from 26 January 2007 to 14 September 2016
Michel Platini was born in Joeuf in eastern France on 21 June 1955. He enjoyed a distinguished career as a player, captaining the France team that won the 1984 UEFA European Football Championship on home soil. He holds the record for the number of goals in a EURO final round, scoring nine times in the 1984 tournament. He also took part in three FIFA World Cups, in 1978, 1982 and 1986, reaching the semi-final of the latter two competitions. In 72 international appearances for France – 49 as captain – he scored 41 goals, an achievement that stood as a record for a number of years.
He played for three clubs – AS Nancy-Lorraine (1973-79) and AS Saint-Étienne (1979-82) in France, and Juventus (1982-87) in Italy. In a career spanning 501 matches, he scored 265 goals, and won the Ballon d'Or for European Footballer of the Year three successive times, in 1983, 1984 and 1985. Following his retirement, he was coach of the French national team from 1988 to 1992, before embarking on a career as a football administrator, both in France and at FIFA and UEFA.
Michel Platini served as a member of the UEFA Technical Development Committee, before his election as a member of the UEFA Executive Committee in 2002. He was elected as UEFA’s sixth President at the UEFA Ordinary Congress in Dusseldorf on 26 January 2007, and was re-elected twice, in March 2011 and March 2015. He became a FIFA vice-president on his election as UEFA President.
During this period, financial fair play measures were introduced to stabilise clubs’ financial management, and UEFA reinforced the fight against match-fixing, racism and violence in stadiums. The close relationship between UEFA and its associations was nurtured, while the exchange of knowledge was fostered between associations for the overall benefit of European football. The constant development of UEFA’s club and national team competitions continued, with UEFA adhering to the belief that football should come first in all of its actions.
Mr Platini resigned from his post of UEFA President on 14 September 2016.
Lennart Johansson (Sweden)
UEFA President from 19 April 1990 to 26 January 2007
Lennart Johansson was President of UEFA for 17 years. Born on 5 November 1929 in Bromma, a suburb of Stockholm, his love of football has seen him remain loyal to his home-town club – Swedish outfit AIK Solna.
After gaining his initial administrative experience with AIK, Mr Johansson came through the ranks in the Swedish Football Association (SvFF), and served as the association's president between 1984 and 1991. Establishing a reputation as a strong, capable leader, Mr Johansson was elected as UEFA's fifth President at UEFA's Malta Congress in 1990, and he held the position until January 2007.
During his term of office, the face of the European game changed completely, in sporting and commercial terms. UEFA itself developed from being a purely administrative body in a suburb of the Swiss federal capital Berne to a dynamic modern business enterprise based at the House of European Football in Nyon, on the banks of Lake Geneva in western Switzerland.
While Mr Johansson was at the helm, the UEFA Champions League was launched at the start of the 1990s and turned into the world's most prestigious club competition, a blue-riband sporting and commercial event bringing together the best players on the planet and followed by millions of football enthusiasts.
National-team football also flourished, with the UEFA European Championship final round growing into one of the most popular events on the world sporting calendar alongside the FIFA World Cup and Olympic Games. Mr Johansson was named Honorary UEFA President by his successor Michel Platini at the UEFA Congress in Dusseldorf in January 2007. He passed away on 4 June 2019 at the age of 89.
Jacques Georges (France)
UEFA President from 12 August 1983 to 19 April 1990
Jacques George, as first vice-president, assumed the post of UEFA President ad interim upon the tragic death of Artemio Franchi (Italy) in August 1983. He was duly elected President at the UEFA Congress in Paris in 1984.
Born on 30 May 1916, Mr Georges enjoyed a splendid career as a football administrator which spanned more than half a century, beginning in the Vosges region of eastern France in the late 1940s. He was elected to the French Football Federation's (FFF) federal bureau in 1961, and he became responsible for the French national team as a director. In 1968, he was the ideal person to take over the role of FFF President for a first term.
Blessed with a deep understanding of the game and wider European issues, Mr Georges was elected to the UEFA Executive Committee in 1972. He played an active role in the development and modernisation of UEFA, in particular at a time of increased media coverage and heightened TV interest.
Mr Georges was UEFA President during a time for European football when EU matters were occupying a wider stage through issues such as freedom of movement, and as security considerations became of paramount importance in the wake of the Heysel disaster in Brussels in 1985.
The Frenchman helped lay the foundations for the modern-day UEFA Champions League, before stepping down in 1990 and returning to office with the FFF as the association's president, while also becoming Honorary UEFA President. He passed away in February 2004.
Artemio Franchi (Italy)
UEFA President from 15 March 1973 to 12 August 1983
Artemio Franchi was a brilliant football administrator who loved the game and enjoyed a splendid career that was cut short by a tragic road accident in Tuscany in August 1983.
He served as UEFA President for ten years, having been elected as the third President at a UEFA Extraordinary Congress in Rome in March 1973, following the death the previous year of his predecessor Gustav Wiederkehr. Mr Franchi's first attachment to the game came as a player, and then as a referee and refereeing administrator. He became president of the ACF Fiorentina club, rose through the ranks of the Italian Football League and Italian Football Federation (FIGC), and served twice as president of the latter body – from 1967 to 1976 and from 1978 to 1980.
Mr Franchi became a UEFA committee member in 1962, and a UEFA vice-president in 1968. As president, he made a significant contribution to the modernisation of the UEFA competitions, advocating an increase in the number of final-round teams for the 1980 European Championship in Italy to eight, and overseeing the introduction of the UEFA Cup. He was tireless in his efforts to reduce violence in the game, and was acutely aware of the power that football held as a social phenomenon.
Competent, diplomatic, intelligent and charming, Mr Franchi was a man of culture who valued human contact. His sudden death was mourned by everyone within the European game. Stadiums in Florence and Siena are named after him, as was the trophy for a competition played twice, in 1985 and 1993, between the European and South American national team competition champions.
Gustav Wiederkehr (Switzerland)
UEFA President from 17 April 1962 to 7 July 1972
Gustav Wiederkehr was elected as UEFA's second president at the sixth Ordinary UEFA Congress in Sofia (Bulgaria) on 17 April 1962, succeeding Ebbe Schwartz (Denmark). He had been president of the Swiss Football Association (SFV/ASF) since 1954.
Born on 2 October 1905, Mr Wiederkehr took over the UEFA President's post at a critical time in the organisation's development. European football was in a phase of construction and rapid expansion, as a result of the newly-created European club competitions, as well as the advent of television and improved travel across Europe.
A committed European, Mr Wiederkehr saw his role as helping to consolidate and build up Europe's prominent position within international football. An uncomplicated, but dynamic, enterprising and inventive man, he had studied economics and was on several occasions a member of the FIFA World Cup Organising Committee, and he also became a FIFA vice-president.
The UEFA President's love for the game shone through – he was a player in his youth, and also served as chairman of the Young Fellows Zürich club. Astute, an intelligent negotiator and an innovate businessman in the carpet industry, he served as President for 10 years until his sudden death in summer 1972.
Ebbe Schwartz (Denmark)
UEFA President from 22 June 1954 to 17 April 1962
Danish football administrator Ebbe Schwartz was an ideal figure as the first UEFA President. He was known as a man of great diplomacy, enjoyed an international education and came from a country with a long football history.
Born in Copenhagen on 5 March 1901, Mr Schwartz was an expert in trade and commerce, and became a joint owner of his family engineering works and iron foundry company in 1931.
He played as a goalkeeper with AB Copenhagen, but was to make his mark as a football administrator, serving as head of the Danish football delegation when the team won the bronze medal at the London Olympic Games in 1948, and taking the position of Danish FA President in 1950 – a position he was to hold until his death in 1964.
Mr Schwartz served two four-year terms as UEFA President, before leaving the post in the spring of 1962 for a seat on the FIFA Executive Committee. He had led UEFA skilfully through its early years following the body's birth in June 1954.