Former FIFA president Joba Havelange passes away

Joao Havelange, who has died at 100, was the man who made FIFA a global powerhouse, only to resign under a cloud of corruption that has darkened the world footballing body’s reputation.

  • Havelange was a distinguished athlete. He played junior football with Fluminense, but it was in swimming and water polo that he made his name by representing Brazil at the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936 and Helsinki in 1952.
  • Trading on his achievements in the pool, in the late 1950s he took his business and administrative skills into sport and in a few years rose to the top of the Brazilian sports federation. It was in football that he saw the potential to promote Brazil’s international image as well as his own global profile in sport and business.
  • As head of FIFA for 24 years and with half a century on the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Havelange thought and acted big, becoming a central figure in the evolution of today’s sporting mega-events.