Former FIFA president Joao Havelange has died at the age of 100.
The Brazilian who served as president of the world football governing body from 1974 to 1998 died on Tuesday at the Samaritano Hospital in Rio de Janeiro. He was recently treated for Pneumonia at the same hospital
Havelange was an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member from 1963 until 2011, resigning because of ill health.
As head of soccer’s highest body for 24 years and with half a century on the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Havelange FIFA a global powerhouse, becoming a central figure in the evolution of today’s sporting mega-events.
Among his last achievements was to use his clout to help Rio win its bid to host this year’s Olympic Games — the first held in South America.
As Fifa president he led the World Cup’s expansion from 16 to 32 teams, with six competitions held under his tenure.
Havelange also launched a wave of new tournaments, notably the world championships at Under-17 and Under-20 level in the late 1980s and the Fifa Confederations Cup and Fifa Women’s World Cup at the start of the 1990s.
Born to a wealthy Belgian immigrant family in Rio de Janeiro on May 8th 1916, Jean-Marie Faustin Goedefroid de Havelange graduated with a law degree, but sport was his true love.
He represented Brazil in swimming at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin and again in Helsinki in 1952, where he was on the water polo team.
Havelange was president of the Brazilian Sports Confederation for 15 years and joined the Brazilian Olympic Committee in 1955, then the IOC in 1963 where he would remain until 2011.
In 1974 he got the job of FIFA president, succeeding Sir Stanley Rous as the first non-European in the role. Over the next quarter century Havelange would change the way the world experienced football.
However, his career was also mired in controversy over bribery allegations.
In 2010, a BBC Panorama programme accused Havelange and son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira of taking millions of dollars in bribes from Swiss marketing agency International Sport and Leisure (ISL) to retain the company as Fifa’s sole official marketer.
His resignation from the IOC five years ago avoided an investigation into the ISL allegations, which Havelange had denied.
Immediate past FIFA president, Sepp Blatter succeeded João Havelange on 8 June 1998, to become the 8th president of the world football governing body.