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Ex-FIFA president Joao Havelange dies in Rio aged 100

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By Euronews
Ex-FIFA president Joao Havelange dies in Rio aged 100

The head of international football’s governing body from 1974 to 1998, Joao Havelange, has died at the age of 100 in his hometown Rio de Janeiro.

Havelange was a law graduate and businessman, but also a talented sportsman who represented Brazil in both swimming and water polo.

After succeeding Stanley Rous as the head of FIFA in 1974, he used his business acumen to bring international football into the modern commercial era. Money soon poured in from corporate sponsorship and television rights.

With the money came accusations of corruption: prosecutors claimed he took bribes totaling tens of millions of dollars over the course of his tenure at FIFA and also during his time as a member of the International Olympic Committee. However Havelange avoided an embezzlement conviction after a multi-million dollar settlement.

He was succeeded as FIFA president by his protégé Sepp Blatter, who himself stood down from the post amid a corruption scandal.

Rio’s Engenhao stadium, a venue for many Olympic events currently taking place, was renamed after him.