RIO DE JANEIRO: The condition of Joao Havelange, 95-year-old former president of FIFA and of the Brazilian football confederation, is giving his doctors concern again.

Havelange, who quit the IOC in December rather than face an ethics panel over illicit payments, was admitted to the Samaritano Hospital a month ago suffering from septic arthritis in his right ankle.

His doctors said in a statement that he was back in a semi-intensive care unit and that his cardiac and pulmonary functions had weakened. Cardiac specialist Joao Mansur Filho said: “Right now Joao Havelange needs medication to control his blood pressure and improve the functions of his heart.”

Havelange underwent three drainage procedures on his ankle after spending the first few days in an intensive care unit. His conditioned improved until heart and breathing problems last week prompted concerns again. He returned to intensive care for a few days but improved until his health deteriorated Tuesday.

A former Olympic swimmer and water polo player, Havelange joined the IOC in 1963 and was its oldest member until his resignation. He stepped down as FIFA president in 1998 after turning the organisation into a a multibillion-dollar corporate giant.

# # # #