Joao Havelange out of hospital

2012-05-21 21:02

Sao Paulo - Former FIFA president Joao Havelange was released from hospital on Monday, more than two months after being admitted with a serious infection on his right ankle.

The Hospital Samaritano said in a statement that the 96-year-old Havelange recovered from the infection and his heart and lung conditions improved enough to allow him to go home.

"Favourable cardiac and respiratory conditions allowed the patient to be released," doctor Joao Mansur Filho said in the hospital's statement after evaluating Havelange on Monday.

Havelange, who turned 96 on May 8, was admitted to the Rio de Janeiro hospital on March 18 with septic arthritis, a bacterial infection that affects joints, and several times was listed in serious condition because of heart and breathing problems.

A few times doctors had to transfer him back to intensive care, where he needed the aid of a ventilator to breathe properly and medication to have his blood pressure controlled.

Havelange needed three drainage procedures on his right ankle as doctors tried to control the infection, which can spread quickly if not treated immediately. Havelange was receiving antibiotic treatment intravenously until two weeks ago, when doctors said his overall health began improving significantly.

The Brazilian official led FIFA from 1974-98 and remains an honorary president at football's governing body. He was the last man in charge before Sepp Blatter took over and is credited by many for expanding football into a global game. Under his watch, FIFA grew from an organization with a staff of about a dozen to administer a multibillion-dollar sport.

Havelange also presided over the Brazilian Football Confederation for nearly two decades, including the period spanning the country's first three World Cup titles, in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

Blatter made a personal trip to Brazil just to visit Havelange in the hospital. Brazilian federation president Jose Maria Marin also visited the Brazilian official.

Havelange resigned from the International Olympic Committee late last year citing undisclosed health reasons, avoiding a possible suspension for allegedly taking kickbacks from former FIFA marketing partner ISL. The resignation in December came just three days before the IOC's executive board was preparing to rule on claims that he took a $1 million kickback from World Cup marketing deals while FIFA president.

A former Olympic swimmer and water polo player, Havelange had been with the IOC since 1963 and was its oldest member until resigning.