Former FIFA President Joao Havelange Dies At 100

If there is someone the footballing world will never forget, it would be erstwhile and longest-serving President of world football governing body, FIFA Joao Havelange, who just passed on.

He died at age 100, on Tuesday in Rio de Janeiro’s Samaritano Hospital, according to a statement from the medical center.

As part of his immense contributions to global football during his reign at the echelon of FIFA between 1974 – 1998 when he was succeeded by Joseph Sepp Blatter, the Brazilian expanded the World Cup from 16 to 32 teams, organised six World Cups, added U-17 and U-20 world championship during his reign. He secured lucrative broadcast deals, brought nations into Fifa and created the Women’s World Cup in 1991.

Having placed the beautiful game in the spotlight, global sponsors such as Adidas AG and Coca-Cola Co. joined the fray while the value of television rights for the World Cup increased. Havelange was able to expand the game beyond its traditional strongholds of Europe and South America, hence, member nations of FIFA further increased from 139 national associations in 1975 to more than 200.

His method of spending the money was seen by some as at best cynical, using it to benefit his supporters and maintain control of FIFA. In 2013, a FIFA ethics court said Havelange’s conduct in receiving payments from a marketing partner had been “morally and ethically reproachable.” He
resigned from his post as FIFA’s honorary president a short while later.

The lawyer, businessman and former athlete also served as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from 1963 to 2011.

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