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Monday, January 9, 2006
After 2007 Johansson will be gone fishing

ATHENS, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Lennart Johansson, president of European soccer's governing body UEFA, has said he will not be standing for another term in 2007 because at 76 he is ready for a more sedate way to spend his days.

Johansson, who has been UEFA president since 1990 and turned 76 last November, told the Greek magazine K: 'It is time for me to step down and let someone else take on the responsibility. It is time for me to go fishing.'

In the interview, the avuncular Swede said he was surprised to have spent 16 years as president but refused to hint at who he thought was best qualified to replace him.

'I still feel surprised by how long I have occupied the role but time is passing by,' he said.

'I can say that I see enough people with the knowledge and capability to do it but I don't want to support anyone specific.'

The only declared candidate is former French international Michel Platini, a member of both the FIFA and UEFA executive committees, while German Franz Beckenbauer, the president of the 2006 World Cup organising committee, is considering whether to run.

Johansson did, however, offer his idea of the ideal candidate.

'He should be capable of negotiating, be democratic and be able to keep a low profile -- he must not have a big idea of himself as a personality. He also needs a lot of ideas, good partners, a bit of luck and a good sense of humour,' he said.

Johansson has overseen a series of huge changes in the last 16 years including the creation of the Champions League and the adoption of the Bosman Ruling in 1995.

He stood for the presidency of FIFA in 1998 losing the election race to then-FIFA secretary general Sepp Blatter.




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