For­mer Fifa boss dies

Fiji Sun - - Sport -

Rio de Janeiro:

For­mer Fifa pres­i­dent Joao Have­lange has died at the age of 100. The Brazil­ian was pre­de­ces­sor to Sepp Blat­ter at world foot­ball’s gov­ern­ing body, serv­ing from 1974 to 1998. 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. He was an In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) mem­ber from 1963 un­til 2011, re­sign­ing be­cause of ill health. “He had one idea in his head, to make foot­ball a global game with his slo­gan ‘foot­ball is the uni­ver­sal lan­guage’, and he suc­ceeded,” said for­mer Fifa pres­i­dent Sepp Blat­ter. Have­lange rep­re­sented Brazil in swim­ming at the 1936 Olympics - the year he qual­i­fied as a lawyer - be­fore his elec­tion to the IOC. As Fifa pres­i­dent he led the World Cup’s ex­pan­sion from 16 to 32 teams, with six com­pe­ti­tions held un­der his ten­ure. As well as swim­ming at the 1936 Olympics, Have­lange was part of the Brazil­ian wa­ter polo team at the 1952 Helsinki Games and was chef de mis­sion for the Brazil­ian del­e­ga­tion at the 1956 Olympics in Mel­bourne.

And it was as a sports ad­min­is­tra­tor, par­tic­u­larly in foot­ball, that Have­lange made his mark. He em­barked on a ca­reer which be­gan 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. BBC Sports

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