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Not Taking Any Chances

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The Premier League on Friday made an announcement in which it pledged to provide defibrillators to more than 2000 grassroots football sites. This move from the English top division comes in the wake of former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest during Denmark’s opening game in Euro 2020 in Copenhagen.



The 29-year old collapsed during Denmark’s game with Finland and had to be admitted to a hospital for treatment after being given CPR on the pitch in addition to the use of a defibrillator to restore his heart’s normal functioning.

As the awareness around cardiac arrest grows within the football community, the Premier League has pioneered to provide medical equipment to avert such incidents in future at any level within the football pyramid system in England.

FootTheBall analyses the move by the Premier League and what it means for the beautiful game in the wake of Eriksen’s condition.



A defibrillator is a device that helps revive a person’s heart when it has temporarily stopped working in the aftermath of a cardiac arrest.  Defibrillation is widely used along with CPR to resuscitate a person whose heart has stopped pumping blood in the body.


Automatic External Defibrillators will be provided by the Premier League from the next season (Image courtesy – indiamart.com)


It delivers a dose of electric current to one’s heart that helps in bringing the concerned person back to consciousness after they have suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. The use of this medical device has become a topical issue in light of recent events surrounding Christian Eriksen. 

The Danish midfielder was brought back to consciousness after he fainted in Copenhagen in an event that generated considerable debate around the health and welfare of athletes all around the world.



The Premier League has collaborated with the Football Foundation and the Football Association to commence the first phase of the rollout of the Premier League Defibrillator Fund.

As part of this initiative, the Premier League will ensure the delivery of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to Football Foundation-funded facilities that are currently functioning sans the medical device.



In the second phase, grassroots clubs that own their facilities will be able to apply for funds to enable them to buy defibrillators of their own. In totality, more than 2000 sites will be the benefactors of this novel initiative.

The first batch of 1000 defibrillators will be delivered before the start of the 2021-22 season. The second batch will follow in September 2021, with both the batches to give access to more than 1.5 million people who use those facilities.



Each grant benefactor will be required to have at least one person who has successfully learned the method to use the medical device. The training for this purpose will be provided through the FA’s Sudden Cardiac Arrest course which is accessible without any fee online



Richard Masters, the Premier League’s CEO talked about the move, referring to the unfortunate incident in Copenhagen. 

“The traumatic incident we all witnessed when Christian Eriksen collapsed during UEFA Euro 2020 brings into sharp focus the need for defibrillators to be more widely available across the football community



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.”



Former Arsenal and Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba lauded the Premier League’s efforts.  He said that it was a great move by the English top-flight to address the concerns of players with regard to sudden cardiac arrests or other catastrophic events on the pitch.



Muamba himself has been a victim of cardiac arrest in the past. Nine years ago he collapsed in an FA Cup match and was ‘technically dead’ for 78 minutes.

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,” he was quoted saying.

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