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August 16, 2016
Ex-FIFA president Joao Havelange dies at 100

Joao Havelange while at the Under-20 men's World Cup in Chile in 1987.
Joao Havelange while at the Under-20 men's World Cup in Chile in 1987.
Photo by Michael Lewis
Former FIFA president Joao Havelange, who turned the organization into a multi-billionaire business before corruption caught up to soccer's governing body, died Tuesday morning.

He was 100.

Havelange passed away at Samaritano Hospital in Rio de Janeiro during the Olympic Games.

At Rio's bid presentation to the International Olympic Committee in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2009, Havelange invited the members to vote to "join me in celebrating my 100th birthday" in Brazil.

Obviously, the IOC membership did.

While Havelange transformed FIFA into a feared organization, the sport greatly expanded furing his 25 years at helm.

During his tenure from 1974 to 1988, the World Cup expanded from 16 to 32 teams, added the Women's World Cup and brought new countries into FIFA. as well. He also help broker broadcast deals that brought billions into the organization.

The United States was awarded the 1994 World Cup during Havelange's rule, in 1988.

When he took over after defeating Englishman Sir Stanley Rous in the 1974 presidential election, FIFA was a rather small organization with 10 employees at its Zurich, Switzerland headquarters.

"I found an old house and US$20 in the kitty," he was quoted on FIFA's website. "On the day I departed 24 years later, I left property and contracts worth over US $four billion. Not too bad, I'd say."
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