João Havelange


Born 1916, Died 2016
(named Honorary FIFA President on 8 June 1998)

Dr João Havelange's 24 years as FIFA President were a period of significant change which featured, most notably, the expansion of the FIFA World Cup from a 16-team tournament to one twice as large by the time the Brazilian left his post in 1998. An Olympic swimmer and water polo player in his younger days, Havelange's greatest achievement as a football administrator was arguably to ensure increased involvement on the world stage for teams from Asia, Africa, CONCACAF and Oceania, who had had just three FIFA World Cup finalists between them in 1974. FIFA's Zurich headquarters housed just 12 staff members when he took office yet that figure would increase almost tenfold as FIFA's organisational responsibilities and commercial interests grew, not least with a wave of new tournaments introduced, notably the world championships at U-17 and U-20 level in the late 1980s and the FIFA Confederations Cup and FIFA Women's World Cup at the start of the 1990s.