Olympic Soccer

Mid-Day Ticker: Petrov has leukemia, FIFA orders for Olympic releases & more

Petrov (Getty Images)

Another player for a major European club is in a battle with a serious illness.

Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov was diagnosed with acute leukemia, the club announced on Friday. According to an Aston Villa statement, Petrov had developed a fever after last week's match against Arsenal, and the disease was discovered in his ensuing blood tests.  

"We expect to learn more about Stiliyan's situation in due course, and we have moved quickly to support him and his family," the club wrote in its statement. "Stiliyan is cherished by many, and he will get from Villa every ounce of love and support that we have to help bring this to a positive conclusion."

Petrov joins the likes of Bolton's Fabrice Muamba, AC Milan's Antonio Cassano and Barcelona's Eric Abidal as players whose lives have recently been altered drastically by major medical problems. 

Here are a few more stories from around the soccer world:


The potential for starpower at this summer's Olympic soccer tournament increased, with FIFA mandating that clubs release Under-23 players called in for the competition. 

That had not previously been the case, as the Olympics are not part of FIFA's international calendar and clubs and countries have often been in a tug of war over releasing players for the tournament.

Lionel Messi was at the center of an argument in 2008, when Argentina's federation and Barcelona took a case to the Court Arbitration of Sport over his inclusion. The court ruled in favor of Barcelona, but the club ended up releasing him anyway and Argentina went on to win the gold medal. 


FIFA's Executive Committee met for the first time this year, and among the topics covered and changes planned are reforms to the way the world's governing body of soccer investigates corruption within its highly scrutinized organization.

Mark Pieth, FIFA's anti-corruption adviser and a former United Nations investigator, has spearheaded the effort, and he said that the anti-corruption and ethics committee's investigations will "be applicable to past behavior."

''Unanimously they agreed to this new approach in our, let's say, efforts for more transparency and integrity,'' FIFA president Sepp Blatter said. ''The new ethics committee will have the possibility to initiate investigation in case of credible allegations."


Rio Ferdinand should have no shortage of options should he move on from Manchester United when his contract expires at the end of next season, and according to reports, the English centerback is considering following Nicolas Anelka to China.

Ferdinand, who has also been linked to MLS, will be almost 35 when his deal is up. 


What do you think about FIFA forcing clubs to release their players for the Olympics? What's your take on FIFA's ethics and corruption reforms? Are you satisfied, or do you think this is all window dressing with little substance? Would you want a 35-year-old Ferdinand to come to MLS?

Share your thoughts below.

  • WeatherManNX01

    Why doesn’t FIFA just put the Olympics and qualifying tournaments on the calendar? Seems like it was eliminate a lot of headaches all around.

    And congrats to FIFA on ethics reform recommendations, but given their history, I’ll believe it when I see it.


  • Dave


    1. Fifa is not interested in promoting a tournament in competition with the WC or even the U23 WC

    2. Fifa is seeing open revolt over the current tournament scheduling.

    I wonder if some of the reason Klinsman blew off the olympic qualifying failure was a Eurosnob disdain of Olympic soccer.


  • Villain-from-Texas

    Stinks about Petrov. He’s been a good captain for Villa and has represented the club well, especially over the last two years when things haven’t been great on the pitch. By all accounts, he’s one of the good guys.


  • BSU SC

    Best wishes to Petrov. Hopefully it was detected in its early stages.

    If FIFA requires players to be released for the Olympics, why not require them to be released for Olympic qualifying? The US certainly could have used its top U-23 players against Canada and El Salvador.


  • fischy

    ”Unanimously they agreed to this new approach in our, let’s say, efforts for more transparency and integrity,” FIFA president Sepp Blatter said…with a wink.

    Later, he admitted he had his fingers crossed.


  • Jamie Z.

    He really is. I was absolutely shocked when I heard about it and I’m gutted for him. Stan has been a loyal servant at Villa and a consummate professional. He has my thoughts and prayers for a full recovery.


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