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Thursday, 28 February, 2002, 08:52 GMT
Blatter's rise to power
Former Fifa President Joao Havelange backed Blatter
Former Fifa President Joao Havelange backed Blatter
BBC Sport's Harry Peart looks back to the 1998 Fifa election, when Sepp Blatter beat Uefa's Lennart Johansson to become the president of football's governing body

The election of the second most powerful man in sport, behind the president of the International Olympic Committee, was bound to be controversial.

Joao Havelange was stepping down after 24 years in charge.

He had taken football's governing body from a small office to a multi- billion dollar business.

He had actively supported the candidacy of Sepp Blatter, who as the general secretary of Fifa, had carried out most of the Brazilian's wishes.

'Unsavoury campaign'

Ranged against him was Lennart Johansson, a jovial Swede who headed Uefa, the most powerful of the continental confederations, and who could command the bulk of the European votes.

But at the Equinox Centre to the south of Paris, the voting for the president went Blatter's way as votes pledged to Johanson leaked away.

Africa, which had been the source of power for Havelange, failed to deliver the pledged votes to Johansson and Blatter triumphed.

The first round gave Blatter a comprehensive lead and Johansson withdrew, admitting that he was mildly surprised and disappointed to be beaten so comprehensively afer so many votes had been promised.

After his victory, the Swiss administrator acknowledged that it had been a bitter campaign and that there had been one or two fouls.

Johansson said something had happned somewhere, and he was taken aback by the size of the swing to Blatter.

Asked abut allegations of the unsavoury nature of the campaign, Blatter said, that the match was over, the players had gone to the dressing-room and he would not be responding to the allegations.

See also:

17 Jan 02 |  Cup of Nations
Blatter promises 2010 to Africa
09 Jan 02 |  World Cup 2002
Blatter to stand again
26 Sep 01 |  Football
Blatter in doping claim
25 Jan 02 |  Football
Johansson turns up heat on Fifa
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