UEFA’s Handling of the Aftermath of the Christian Eriksen Situation Was a Disgrace
Towards the end of the first half of a EURO 2020 game on Saturday between Denmark and Finland, midfielder Christian Eriksen suffered a serious medical emergency. In one of the most terrifying sporting incidents in recent memory, Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest while on the pitch.
Luckily, Eriksen’s teammates and the medical team on hand reacted extremely quickly. Thanks to the response of these heroes, Eriksen was alert by the time he left the stadium.
Eriksen is currently recovering in a hospital in his native Denmark. The Inter Milan star took to social media to address the fans and thank the soccer world for its concern.
A message from @ChrisEriksen8.
— DBU – En Del Af Noget Større (@DBUfodbold) June 15, 2021
The most important thing now is that Eriksen is able to make a full recovery and enjoy time with his family once again.
In the aftermath of such a traumatic incident, many fans were shocked that the match between Denmark and Finland resumed on the same day. Initially, the word was that the Danish team had decided to play on in support of Eriksen.
Following the request made by players of both teams, UEFA has agreed to restart the match between Denmark and Finland tonight at 20:30 CET (TBC).
The last four minutes of the first half will be played, there will then be a 5-minute half-time break followed by the second half.
— UEFA (@UEFA) June 12, 2021
However, more recent information suggests that may not have been exactly the case.
Peter Schmeichel Speaks Out On The Eriksen Situation
On Monday, Peter Schmeichel made an appearance on Good Morning Britain to talk about the situation.
Was it wrong to restart the game after such a traumatic event?
Former goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel's son Kasper was on the pitch and consoled Christian Eriksen's partner. Peter says the game shouldn't have gone ahead and the players had very little choice. pic.twitter.com/nUDiSDruR3
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) June 14, 2021
Schmeichel’s comments paint a picture in which UEFA essentially presented the Danish team with an ultimatum. In reality, the players had very little say in the matter. The team had to decide directly after the incident whether to play the same afternoon or the next day in order to avoid forfeiting the match.
This is a far cry from UEFA’s claim that the players requested to resume the game.
Given that Schmeichel is a former player and the father of the current goalkeeper, it is likely that he has a solid understanding of what is going on behind the scenes with the team.
With those connections in mind, it is extremely disappointing to hear that this is how UEFA responded to the situation. It is incredibly unfair to expect players to continue on with a match so soon after they have seen something traumatic occur to someone they care deeply about.
The players showed great courage in their return to the field. However, it was simply not a situation that they should have been in.
Response Of The Danish Team
Danish manager Kasper Hjulmand agreed with Schmeichel’s comments in a press conference today.
#DEN boss Kasper Hjulmand hugely damning on UEFA. Accuses them of lacking leadership and putting them in a dilemma after a harrowing emotional trauma: “The only real leadership would have been to put the players on a bus and send them home and then deal with it after." pic.twitter.com/4Y8BdDmyvz
— Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) June 15, 2021
Hjulmand stated that he felt the way his team was pressured to return to the pitch was not right.
The fact that UEFA presented the Danish team with a limited set of choices is bad enough. The way that they attributed the decision to the players in public statements is unacceptable.
Hjulmand said that the team has collectively felt a little bit better with every hour that has passed since the incident. Of course, this is completely natural in a situation like this. This is also exactly why UEFA should have afforded the team more time to collect themselves.
UEFA clearly felt they could not disrupt the schedule of the tournament going forward. This shows a lack of perspective on the severity of the situation that had just unfolded.
After visiting Eriksen in the hospital, goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel had some moving quotes on the situation.
Kasper Schmeichel in his own words, after visiting Christian Eriksen in hospital: "We must remember that there is something positive in this.” 🙏 pic.twitter.com/ddEgS1loQl
— B/R Football (@brfootball) June 14, 2021
UEFA would have done well to remember the human side of the story that Schmeichel portrays here.
– Andrew Fasciano (@afasc573)