Joao Havelange, former FIFA president has died in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the age of 100. The centenarian served as FIFA president from 1974-1998. According to a statement from the Samaritano Hospital, Havelange, who was suffering from a respiratory infection, died early Tuesday morning.
In 2009, Havelange backed Rio’s Olympic bid to the International Olympic Committee in Copenhagen by inviting members to vote to “join me in celebrating my 100th birthday'” at the 2016 Games in Brazil.
After his reign as FIFA president, the Brazilian was appointed FIFA’s honorary president. But he resigned the position in April 2013 following an investigation into bribery allegations and was admitted to hospital the following year with a lung infection. He is credited with commencing wide reaching reforms at FIFA. Apart from initiating the move that led to the expansion of the World Cup from 16 to 32 participating teams, he launched new tournaments: Under-17 and Under-20 competitions, Confederations Cup and Women’s World Cup.
As a sign of respect, the International Olympic Committee, IOC, following a request from Rio 2016 Organising Committee, in a statement requested for the Brazilian flag to be flown at half-mast in Olympic venues.
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