Former FIFA president, Joao Havelange has died at the age of 100. The Brazilian who was Sepp Blatter’s predecessor reportedly died at the Samaritano hospital in Rio de Janeiro early Tuesday mroning, while Rio is hosting the Olympic Games.
Joao Havelange was FIFA’s president for more than two decades (1974-1998), transforming the governing body into a multi-billion-pound business.
He resigned as FIFA’s honorary president in April 2013 following an investigation into bribery allegations and was admitted to hospital the following year with a lung infection.
In 2009, Havelange led Rio’s bid presentation to the IOC in Copenhagen by inviting the members to vote to ‘join me in celebrating my 100th birthday’ at the 2016 Games in Brazil.
He was also an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member from 1963 until 2011, when he resigned due to ill health. Before being elected to the IOC, Havelange represented Brazil in swimming at the 1936 Olympics – the same year he was called to bar as a lawyer.
Havelange began his career as president of the Metropolitan Swimming Federation in Brazil. He also became a member of the Brazilian Olympic Committee and joined the International Cycling Union in 1958.
After becoming vice-president of the Brazilian Sports Confederation, he served as president from 1958 to 1973, before he became the most powerful man in world football.
In 1974, he succeeded Britain’s Sir Stanley Rous and was elected to be FIFA president, marshalling support among those unhappy at the perceived European domination of the world governing body.
As FIFA president, he led the World Cup’s expansion from 16 to 32 teams, with six competitions held under his tenure. He secured lucrative broadcast deals, brought nations into FIFA and created the Women’s World Cup.