OFC joins in mourning former FIFA President

The Oceania Football Confederation has joined the football world in mourning former FIFA President Joao Havelange who has passed away in Samaritano Hospital, Rio de Janeiro, aged 100.

OFC President David Chung said: “Joao Havelange played a crucial role in the formation of the OFC as we know it today.

“He helped football become a global sport and the football community here in Oceania is eternally grateful for his vision and contribution to the game both globally and regionally here in the Pacific.”

Havelange was the first to receive the OFC Pacific Gold Star in 1999, an award which has only ever been presented to one other, former OFC President Charles J. Dempsey, CBE.

The award was in recognition of the instrumental role he played in OFC’s application for full confederation status which was conferred in 1996 and his support for football in Oceania.

Born in Rio de Janeiro on 8 May 1916 to Belgian immigrants and although his sporting career began in swimming, representing Brazil at two Olympic Games, he soon found himself involved with the beautiful game.

Havelange became the head of the Brazilian delegation at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956 and the honourary president of Fluminense Football Club. In 1958, at the age of 42, he was appointed chairman of the Brazilian Sports Association (CBD), which later became the Brazilian Football Association (CBF).

Voted on to the International Olympic Committee in 1963, Havelange was elected President of FIFA on 11 June 1974.

During his six terms in office a total of 50 new associations joined the governing body of world football. It was also during his presidency that FIFA organised the inaugural Women’s World Cup in 1991 and the first Futsal, Men’s U-20 and Men’s U-17 World Cups, in 1989, 1977 and 1985 respectively.


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