Thursday, 18 August 2016


Joao Havelange, whose two-decade presidency of FIFA saw football’s governing body transformed into a multibillion dollar business and a hotbed for subsequent corruption that damaged its reputation, has died. He was 100.
The Brazilian had been treated for pneumonia in Rio de Janeiro’s Samaritano hospital back in July.
The hospital said in a statement that Havelange died on Tuesday morning, but did not state cause of death.
“The institution supports the family and friends of the sports leader,” said the brief statement.
Born on May 8, 1916, Havelange turned 100 this year.
The Brazilian expanded the World Cup from 16 to 32 teams and made it one of sport’s most important events. He organised six World Cups as FIFA president from 1974 to 1998, when Sepp Blatter replaced him. He secured lucrative broadcast deals, brought nations into FIFA, and created the women’s World Cup.
With more cash for football also came widespread financial wrongdoing by its top officials, including Havelange.
In 2013, FIFA ethics court judge Joachim Eckert said Havelange’s conduct had been “morally and ethically reproachable.”
Havelange was never punished. He was allowed to resign his FIFA honorary presidency in 2013, a move that kept him out of reach of the federation’s ethics committee.
Havelange resigned from the International Olympic Committee in 2011, citing unspecified health problems. By stepping down he avoided a possible suspension for taking kickbacks from former FIFA marketing partner ISL.
The stadium used for track and field during these Olympics is officially named the Joao Havelange Olympic Stadium, although organising officials removed his name for the Games, simply calling it “Olympic Stadium.”
Havelange chaired his country’s football confederation from 1956 to 1974 and was first elected FIFA president 42 years ago after defeating incumbent president Stanley Rous of England. Havelange based his campaign on giving more prominence to voters outside Europe, adding new World Cup places and more funding.
He had been in and out of hospitals in recent years due to respiratory problems.
Havelange competed in two Olympics — as a swimmer in Berlin in 1936 and as a water polo player in 1952 in Helsinki.

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