Powerful tribute to Lennart Johansson – now immortalized in the national arena: “His importance is priceless”

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He is one of Swedish football’s most important figures ever.
Now Lennart Johansson is immortalized with a memorial sculpture at the National Arena.
– Lennart Johansson’s importance to Swedish and international football is priceless. This was a matter of course for us, says the Swedish Football Association’s board chairman Karl-Erik Nilsson.

Lennart Johansson began his journey as chairman of the football world in AIK. In 1985 he was elected chairman of the Swedish Football Association, but he is best remembered for his time in Uefa, Europe’s largest football body. He was president from 1990 to 2007, and is described as the father of the Champions League, and the main leader Sweden had.

Immortalized with sculpture

Lennart Johansson died in the summer of 2019, aged 89. Now he is immortalized in the home arena of the club he is honorary chairman of, the National Arena. AIK and the Swedish Football Association announced on Friday that a memorial sculpture of Lennart Johansson will be placed at the National Arena, where AIK and Sweden play their home matches.

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181111 Lennart Johansson celebrates after the soccer match in the Allsvenskan between Kalmar FF and AIK on November 11, 2018 in Kalmar. Photo: Jesper Zerman / BILDBYRÅN

The memorial sculpture is financed by Uefa, and is donated by the organization to AIK and the Lennart Johansson Foundation.

– Due to his warm personality and dutiful passion for football, Lennart has been greatly missed since his death. I am boundlessly proud to have the opportunity to place him in football’s fine room, the National Arena, and in the context in which he enjoyed himself the most. With us in AIK and in Swedish football in a football stand, says Daniel Norlander, Strategic SLO AIK Football and project manager, in a press release.

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“His importance is priceless”

The sculpture is made of bronze and life-size, and will be placed in the National Arena, or Friends Arena’s, west stand, on the site that was Lennart Johansson’s. The sculptor, Jonas Högström, has previously made several sculptures with AIK coupling.

– Keeping the AIK family together was important to Lennart Johansson. AIK Huvudförening is therefore very proud and happy to have participated in the work with Lennart’s memorial sculpture, says Cecilia Wahlman, president of AIK.

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181112 Lennart Johansson during the Football Gala on 12 November 2018 in Stockholm. Photo: Andreas L Eriksson / Bildbyrån

The sculpture will be unveiled in connection with AIK’s match against BK Häcken on October 19, and then be placed in section 230 during AIK’s and the national team’s matches, as well as other events.

– Lennart Johansson’s importance to Swedish and international football is priceless. It is a matter of course for the Swedish Football Association to honor Lennart’s memory in the way that is now happening with a memorial sculpture in the National Arena, Friends Arena. When it is time for the unveiling, it will be an occasion of great symbolic value for Swedish and European football as well as an occasion that will forever be preserved in football history, says Swedish Football Association chairman of the board Karl-Erik Nilsson.

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