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Two years ago, died, ex-FIFA president Havelange, the greatest reformer of the wereldvoetbal ever

Exactly two years ago died one of the most talked about figures in the sports world. Although João Havelange a successful career as an athlete and as a director, he is mainly known as the king of the corruption. Millions of euros of bribes he received, and him who dared to contradict or to work, was easily removed. A tale of the greatest reformer that the wereldvoetbal will ever have known.

Joao Havelange © Belga Image

João Havelange, the Portuguese nickname for Jean-Marie Faustin Godefroid de Havelange, was born on 8 may 1916. His father was a Belgian citizen and went to school he was in France, but still stood his entire career in the character of Brazil. At the Olympic Games of 1936 he was a member of the Brazilian swim team and that of 1952 in Helsinki he was in the Brazilian waterpoloteam. After his career, in 1956, he obtained a degree in law and was then very successful in the business world with his insurance, steel and shipping company.

As a professional athlete he stayed mostly in anonymity, as a director that was not the case. During law school, he was already a member of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, after which he is moving on to the International Olympic Committee in 1963. Between 1958 and 1973, he was also president of the Brazilian football association (CBF) and made the first of three Brazilian world titles (1958, 1962, 1970). The ultimate was to follow. At 58th he was elected as FIFA president and that will be the whole world have known. He engulfed the FIFA like a tsunami. Where his predecessor, Sir Stanley Rous very conservative control of the football trying to preserve, went Havelange all-in. Football had a wereldsport.

Havelange ran FIFA for 24 years as a company, where profit and reputation are top priorities were. That happened together with Horst Dassler, the founder of sportswear brand Adidas and a marketing company International Sports and Leisure (ISL). Havelange had the ideas, Dassler the money. The cooperation cast are clearly paying off. In twenty years time, the FIFA one of the biggest sports organizations of the world. A totally different situation than under the Rous, when the football association financially weak and had hardly any awareness knew. The football was as planned a wereldsport with a federation of 142 to 206 members, and a WK of the first 24 and then 32 countries. Moreover, Havelange also look for the other parts of the sport, such as youth and women’s football. Found in 1977, the first youth and in 1991 the first vrouwenwereldkampioenschap place.

But both the increased list of members of the new tournaments fall into nothing when we speak about the profit of the Brazilian. Miljardendeals were closed with sponsors like Adidas and Coca-Cola, and televisieoperatoren. It is on this plane that is the life’s work of Havelange, the ground was drilled. After Havelange in 1998 stopped as FIFA president, it rained for allegations of corruption. More and more the image of a mob-like FIFA clearly. The Italian Casa Nostra was nothing in comparison with the FIFA according to author Thomas Kistner. He wrote the book ‘FIFA Mafia’ which both Havelange as its poulain Sepp Blatter nailed to the cross. According to him, was the wereldvoetbalbond a ‘network of mutual dependence. The global football is ruled on the basis of loyalty, corruption and silence, the omerta. FIFA behaves like a family that all the problems internally wants to solve, with one man at the top.’

That family you should be taken literally, for no one less than his son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira, one of the biggest criminals in Rio, was appointed as chairman of the Brazilian football federation in 1989. Together with his son-in-law ruled the ex-olympian on the Brazilian and even wereldvoetbal. Not surprisingly, shared Teixeira is also in the malaise of corruption scandals that Havelange chased. So accused Pele Teixeira already in 1993 of bribery. The Brazilian president would be 10.2 million bribe accepted by the marketing company ISL. Just like his father-in-law, who in 1999 became involved, he the scandal. Havelange would be a whopping 100 million euros in kickbacks over several years and schijnbedrijven, have received from ISL. As the company has been the exclusive partner to stay out of the wereldvoetbalbond and the lucrative contracts of some of the world cup down under. The fairy tale would not, however, take a long time for the Swiss company, because already in 2001 followed the bankruptcy. ISL had a mountain of debt of 245 million euros.

The shot for Teixeira and Havelange was in 2006 when BBC journalist Andrew Jennings in the Brazilian senate, the corruption of the ex-president told, and a committee was formed to which stories to verify. Also here it appeared that Havelinge tens of millions of euros would have obtained from, among others ISL. The scandals continued to haunt him and when Jennings in 2011, with still more evidence came out, did Havelinge away of his membership of the IOC and he delivered in 2013, also the erevoorzitterschap of the FIFA in. The old Brazilian had broken up and jogged the next three years with all kinds of heavy diseases. His umpteenth hospitalization in 2016, there was too much. He died on 8 August 2016 on 100-year-old age and on the day that Brazil its first gold medal won at the Olympic Games in Rio in the stadium that bears his name.

Gert Segers

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