London (AFP) – The Premier League announced on Friday it will donate automated external defibrillators to more than 2,000 grassroots football sites in the wake of Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest at Euro 2020.
Eriksen collapsed during his country’s match with Finland earlier this month and required immediate resuscitation on the pitch.
“The Premier League has today announced it will fund the provision of Automated External Defibrillators (AED) at thousands of grassroots football clubs and facilities, aimed at helping save the life of someone experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest,” the Premier League said in a statement.
“Together more than 2,000 sites will benefit from this investment, with the first 1,000 units delivered in time for the start of the 2021-22 season and the second batch expected in September.”
Each grant recipient will be required to have at least one person who has successfully completed a free online Sudden Cardiac Arrest course.
“The traumatic incident we all witnessed when Christian Eriksen collapsed during Euro 2020 brings into sharp focus the need for defibrillators to be more widely available across the football community,” said Premier League chief executive Richard Masters.
“The welfare of participants and all those involved in football is a priority and this fund will support many people using football facilities not just with the provision of devices but also the training required to use the equipment.
“Sadly, a sudden cardiac incident could happen anytime, anywhere, and we hope by enabling more facilities to have a device, it will make the difference in saving someone’s life.”
Fabrice Muamba was forced to retire after he suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch for Bolton in 2012 and welcomed the new initiative.
“I know from personal experience the importance of having access to this type of medical equipment and how vital it is for someone’s survival after suffering from sudden cardiac arrest,” said Muamba.
“Educating people how to use defibrillators is crucial. I really hope the clubs and facilities will encourage as many coaches, players and staff to undertake the training provided and help create safe places to play the game we all love.”