Hans Reitinger, the honorary president of both the Austrian Football Association (ÖFB) and the Austrian Bundesliga, and holder of UEFA's Order of Merit in Ruby, has passed away at the age of 86.
Mr Reitinger was a defining figure in the professionalisation of Austrian football, and served as president of the Austrian Bundesliga from 1974 to 1986. In 1974, he played a vital part in the domestic top flight's reform into a ten-team league. He was also always a keen proponent of youth football.
On the international stage, he was a member of the UEFA Committee for Non-Amateur Football from 1978 to 1996, working as vice-chairman of this body from 1992 to 1996. In 2007, he received the UEFA Order of Merit in Ruby at the UEFA Ordinary Congress in Dusseldorf.
"In Hans Reitinger, Austrian football loses one of its best officials and, especially, one of its biggest personalities," said ÖFB general director Alfred Ludwig. "Over decades, he was a forerunner who will not only leave a big gap in football, but also as a human being."
"Hans Reitinger's heart beat for Austrian football – he proved this with his commitment at national as well as international level. His name will forever be inseparably connected to the Austrian Bundesliga," said the current head of the Austrian Bundesliga, Georg Pangl. "Hans Reitinger's passing is a painful human loss to the entire Bundesliga family and his friends."
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