The Euro 2020 match between Denmark vs Finland was suspended for close to two hours after Christian Eriksen collapsed on the field and was getting treatment.
The Euro 2020 match between Denmark and Finland in Euro 2020 witnessed a horrific moment. Towards the end of the first half, Denmark international Christian Eriksen collapsed to the ground. It was suspected to be a cardiac arrest. The visuals of Eriksen receiving treatment on the pitch and his condition worried fans and players alike. The Denmark players were shaken and so were the Finland football players. The match was suspended for close to two hours.
When Eriksen was transferred to the hospital, UEFA announced that the match would resume at a later time. This came after ‘agreement with both the Denmark and Finland teams.’ The break was reduced. UEFA wished Christian Eriksen a speedy recovery and hailed the ‘exemplary attitude’ of both the teams.
The show must go on is the adage that has been used when tragedy occurs. The world should be grateful that Christian Eriksen did not suffer a grim fate. But, was it necessary for UEFA to resume the match after such a situation? Take your mind back to the incident which happened with Fabrice Muamba. During the FA Cup match between Bolton and Tottenham Hotspur, Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed during the first half of the FA Cup quarter-final match.
The match was abandoned. Bolton’s next game, against Aston Villa, which was due to be played three days later was postponed at the club’s request. Aston Villa had no objections. Now, the situation nine years ago was similar to the Denmark vs Finland game. One could see that the Denmark and Finland players were shaken. The celebrations and play were muted. Why was it important for UEFA to resume the game immediately after two hours?
The ideal situation would have been to postpone the game for a couple of days. Perhaps, they could have played the game in between the two rest days between the end of the league stage and Round of 16. But, it seems broadcasting logistics and scheduling hassles amidst the coronavirus pandemic dictated UEFA’s decision to start the match.
It would perhaps be harsh to accuse UEFA of not valuing human life. Every care was taken to ensure Christian Eriksen was given the right treatment. But, in resuming the game when all the players were mentally shot, was it the right move?
In keeping with the mental health of the players, it made more sense for UEFA to postpone the game for a couple of days. Once it was confirmed that Christian Eriksen was fine, they could have resumed the game at an appropriate time. Whenever such instances have happened across sports, the matches or the sessions have been suspended for the day.
In cricket, when Phillip Hughes was struck on the head and collapsed, the game was postponed and ultimately abandoned following his death. In motorsports, whenever there is a tragedy, that session is called off. Even in football, when Muamba had suffered the cardiac arrest, the game was abandoned.
In the times of the coronavirus pandemic when player mental health is already shattered, asking them to play after seeing a tragedy is not the right way. UEFA could have had a much more humane approach. It did not benefit Denmark at all. Although Finland won, it was a hollow victory as they were distracted by Christian Eriksen’s condition.
The way how UEFA handled the situation regarding the Denmak vs Finland game was not the ideal way. Perhaps it was the grand stage of the Euro 2020 that perhaps forced their hand into ensuring the match would finish. But, they ended up not valuing the mental health of the players. In principle, it will always be portrayed that both Denmark and Finland agreed to resume the game. But, it has taken a big toll on their mental health.
In the future, it would be ideal if UEFA and other major football leagues adopt a universal stand in this kind of a situation. It would be ideal to postpone the game whenever such a situation occurs. It can give players time to recover mentally. UEFA and other leagues might perhaps be hailed for showing a humane face amidst a devastating pandemic. The show must go on. But, in the times of the coronavirus pandemic, it must perhaps come as a rider of caution and common sense.