HE is a former pot-smoker turned Minister of Justice – who then ran away from taking a drugs test on live radio.
A one-time star of Swedish TV’s equivalent of Crimewatch who was forced to step down from running Stockholm because of his links with a scandal-hit pensions company.
Thomas Bodstrom is the Swedish TV star personality who will decide Chelsea’s transfer ban fate[/caption]
And Uma Thurman’s personal lawyer when the Hollywood A-lister applied for a yellow and blue passport.
Now a crime writer, mid-morning radio host and personality “more Richard Madeley than Piers Morgan”.
But as far as Chelsea are concerned, Thomas Bodstrom is the most important person in world football right now.
The 56-year-old former AIK Stockholm defender appeared to have turned his back on the game when he retired in 1989 to become a lawyer and later a politician.
Yet it is Bodstrom alone who will decide if Chelsea can spend that £200m war chest this summer – or potentially be forced to keep players who will run their contracts down and go for nothing 12 months later.
Chelsea have already filed their paperwork and legal submissions for their appeal against Fifa’s two-window ban after being found guilty of at least 29 breaches of regulations on signing foreign minors.
The Blues are banking on Fifa following the precedent set when similar bans were handed out to the three Spanish giants, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico.
That decision is in the hands of Bodstrom, who was appointed chairman of Fifa’s Appeals Committee in May 2017 – a year after the last of the three Spanish cases was determined by the world governing body.
Bodstrom is a former pot-smoker who became Minister of Justice in Sweden[/caption]
Bodstrom will decide whether Chelsea can spend Roman Abramovich’s £200m war chest this summer[/caption]
And if Chelsea hoped they might have to persuade a typical Fifa blazer to simply go along with past decisions, the Blues might have to think again.
While politics was in his blood – his late father Lennart was Foreign Minister under Sweden’s assassinated Prime Minister Olof Palme – football was his passion.
He spent three seasons with AIK in Sweden’s top flight while completing his law degree, a period he described as “a little boy’s dream come true”.
That was despite three red cards, including one after a scrap with one-time Blackburn striker Martin Dahlin, a member of Sweden’s 1994 World Cup semi-final team.
Chelsea hierarchy Bruce Buck and Marina Granovskaia are waiting on a decision[/caption]
Team-mates recall “a strong personality who showed respect for everyone”.
Bodstrom’s final game before quitting full-time football for the law saw him replaced, on his debut, by former Celtic midfielder Johan Mjallby.
He might have disappeared into legal circles.
But then, in 2000, out of nowhere, the one-time right back was given his chance on the left, joining the Social Democratic Party his father had served on the day he was appointed as the equivalent of Home Secretary.
If that was a shock, what followed was even more eye-opening.
The man who was in charge of combatting his country’s drugs problem and promised “our overall objective is a society without drugs” revealed he had been a regular cannabis user “in my youth”, adding: “I have moved far away from that now. I saw what it did to my friends.”
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Despite that candid admission, Bodstrom held the role for six years and remained in politics until 2010, backing the idea of voluntary drugs tests.
But when a Stockholm radio station asked him to take his own drugs test, revealing he would be tested for amphetamines, hash, opiates and benzodiazepines, Bodstrom declined.
He said: “No, never mind. I am backing out. I don’t feel like it now, I feel that it would be too personal and I feel all sweaty with my shirt and everything.”
Within a year, though, Bodstrom was back firmly in the public eye, named a studio presenter on “Wanted”, Sweden’s version of Crimewatch.
Bodstrom is said to enjoy the attention being on him[/caption]
In a message that might concern Chelsea, he explained: “It’s my subject. I love to discuss crime and punishment.”
Such was his popularity he was dubbed “The King of Wanted”.
Since then, Bodstrom has built up both his private practice and his public profile.
One season Swedish observer said: “If Thomas walked down the street, everybody would know who he is. He has made himself well known.
“But he is more of a Richard Madeley than a Piers Morgan. He is seen as a lightweight, not very controversial. Someone who loves publicity.”
Bodstrom wrote a series of books, including ones on real-life crime and works of fiction, through his political life and since his return to law and the TV and radio studios.
Uma Thurman’s former personal lawyer Bodstrom will decide Chelsea’s fate[/caption]
He acted for a record producer Ben Malen in a contract row with singer-songwriter Miriam Bryant and last year helped Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill and Avengers star Thurman in her bid to secure a Swedish passport.
Bodstrum said: “She told me she thinks it is wrong she is not Swedish.
“Her mother is Swedish, the feels Swedish. She wants to guy a house in Sweden and live here in the future.”
More controversially, in 2017 he was appointed and then forced to stand down from the role of Governor of Stockholm County because of his board position with disgraced pensions company Allfra, which was at the centre of a financial scandal.
There was no suggestion of any wrongdoing by him.
Fifa have made it clear that whether or not Chelsea’s ban is lifted pending their appeal is solely at the discretion of Bodstrom.
Which might not be good news.
As one veteran commentator said: “Thomas loves to be at the centre of attention.
“If he were to stop Chelsea buying any players this summer, he would certainly get a lot of attention…..”