STOCKHOLM: One of the senior bosses of the European football federation has quit his role at the head of Swedish sport after being caught out trying to face both ways over UEFA’s decision to open the door to Russia’s under-17s teams.

Karl-Erik Nilsson, UEFA’s first vice-president, admitted trust in his judgment had been undermined after barely four months as Swedish sports confederation chair.

The confederation, along with Sweden’s football federation, has opposed Russian teams being allowed to compete internationally since last year’s invasion of Ukraine.

Yet Nilsson voted, at a UEFA executive committee meeting, in favour of the proposal to readmit Russia’s under-17s teams into UEFA competitions.

He said: “It is a very difficult decision to now choose to step aside as I have felt great dedication and joy in the mission. But since it has proven difficult to combine my two roles and that it can affect trust in me and Swedish sports.”

Initially Nilsson had denied a report of how he voted before later issuing a statement of justification. That only wrecked his credibility back home.

Nilsson said in a statement: “The recent media attention and focus on my person does not benefit Swedish sports. The attention has triggered a lot of hatred and personal attacks.”

It was only in May that he took up the role overseeing the umbrella organisation for Swedish sport, having led the country’s football federation since 2012.

Nilsson’s exit was followed by an assertion of Sweden’s stance against Russia – along with war ally Belarus – being allowed to participate in international sport.

“I want to be clear, it is fixed,” said Anna Iwarsson, who has replaced Mr Nilsson to become acting chair of the sports confederation. “The common Nordic stance regarding Russia’s and Belarus’s participation in international sports is firm.

“We had a Nordic meeting as recently as last month where all the Nordic national sports federations, Olympic and Paralympic committees, agreed that we must stick to the current line as Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is still ongoing.”