Doctor: Havelange's condition slightly improved
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Former FIFA president Joao Havelange is breathing without the aid of a ventilator after having been admitted to Brazilian hospital with an infection in his right ankle.
The Samaritano Hospital said in a statement on Thursday that there was a "slight improvement" in the former IOC member's condition but his health "still requires close attention."
The statement marked the first time that doctor Joao Mansur Filho didn't use the word "serious" to describe Havelange's condition.
The 95-year-old Havelange was hospitalized Sunday with septic arthritis, a dangerous bacterial infection which affects the joints and can spread quickly if not treated effectively with antibiotics.
Last year, Havelange resigned from the International Olympic Committee citing undisclosed health reasons, avoiding a possible suspension for allegedly taking kickbacks from former FIFA marketing partner ISL in the 1990s.
Havelange presided over FIFA from 1974-98 and remains an honorary president. He was the last man in charge of the organization before Sepp Blatter became president, and is credited by many for helping make football a global game.
Havelange joined the IOC in 1963 and had been its oldest member before he resigned.
Updated March 22, 2012