(AP) — Joao Havelange, who as president of FIFA for two decades transformed soccer’s governing body into a multibillion-dollar business and a hotbed for subsequent corruption that damaged its reputation, has died. He was 100.
Havelange, who was suffering from a respiratory infection, died early Tuesday while Rio de Janeiro was hosting the Olympic Games, according to the Samaritano Hospital.
In 2009, Havelange led off Rio’s bid presentation to the International Olympic Committee in Copenhagen by inviting the members to vote to “join me in celebrating my 100th birthday’” at the 2016 Games in Brazil.
An IOC statement said its thoughts were with Havelange’s family, adding: “The IOC has agreed to a request from the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee to allow the Brazilian flag to be flown at half-mast during the day in Olympic venues.”