Rio De Janeiro: Former FIFA president Joao Havelange died on Tuesday at the age of 100.
The Brazilian, who ran FIFA for two decades, 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. He presided over FIFA from 1974 until 1998, and was credited by many for expanding football into a truly global game. 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.
In 2013 he resigned as FIFA’s honorary president, a move that kept him out of reach of the federation’s ethics committee. 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.