In a world where it’s so easy to offend people, the handling of a player needing lifesaving treatment on a football pitch is bound to create debate.
Witnessing Christian Ericksen receive CPR 43 minutes into a match led to the usual cliches from the world of Sport and social media.
‘Football’s just a game.’
‘Nothing’s more important than life, etc’.
Don’t get me wrong, many will mean those words. I say ‘cliché’ though because actions speak louder than words.
The same TV companies who presenters told us that nothing at that point was more important than the player’s welfare and the thoughts were with his family and friends, didn’t think it appropriate to cut away from the 29-year-old being medically treated.
I don’t know the legislation for broadcasters abroad, but Ofcom regulate that an individual should not be recorded in distress without permission. Hence a director ordering a camera to be put on a girlfriend crying because she’s unaware about a loved one’s welfare can only be called a ratings opportunity.
BBC have released a statement reminding the public they are not in control of the live feed, but they still had the option of cutting the feed at any point.
No matter individual countries our policy and procedures, surely your morality kicks in?
There’s a reason why the Denmark team surrounded a shield round their Star man. There’s a reason why a white sheet and Finland flag was used to block people’s view. Sadly, some didn’t get the hint.
They got their shot of Kasper Schmeichel comforting Eriksen’s partner. Some were even able to find a way through their obstructed view and get the money shot – the Dane being stretchered away wearing an oxygen mask.
I wonder how many of the press asked him or his family if it were okay to plaster though images on back and front pages of the newspapers?
Don’t get me wrong, I accept the world is ruthless. Just be honest and don’t insult our intelligence by pretending this taught you any kind of perspective.
No statement was more insulting then UEFA who had the audacity to praise the ‘football family’ for coming together.
When claiming that the players of Denmark and Finland had requested to finish the game, they conveniently left one small detail out …… UEFA had given only two choices, play in the evening or play the next day at lunch time.
In other words the players picked the less uncomfortable option, but it was still uncomfortable.
If the Governing Body really cared, if the sport in that moment truly was the least of their priorities, if thoughts truly were with everyone affected by the trauma of what they just seen, why the demand for the fixture to be played inside the 24 hours? Why put players in that position?
Why not show empathy and sensitivity?
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t offended the game resumed. I’m offended it resumed then those in power pretended they cared.
The Denmark manager has since admitted that he knew he had players who were not mentally in a place where they could give the aggression needed for a game at this level.
“We had two options to play the game [today] or tomorrow at 12pm and everyone agreed to play today.
“There was no pressure from Uefa to play tonight…honestly it was best to get it over with.
“You can’t play a game with such feelings. We tried to win. It was incredible they managed to go out and try to play the second half.
Imagine watching one of your work mates collapse and lose consciousness in front of you. Imagine being asked to carry on working not knowing their condition. At the very least your employer would accept your work performance to be below par.
I would have loved the Danish FA to call UEFA bluff and refuse to play this weekend. If that meant Finland were awarded the three points, then at least it would publicly show what UEFA’s priority was.
That would allow Denmark to focus on what they claimed was more important than a football score. Instead they made mistakes, with Eriksen’s ordeal used as an excuse which in itself is an insult.
In the last 17 months, the world has made so many sacrifices, they have been reminded not to take for granted their friends and families. Too many lives have been lost to make us aware.
We didn’t need a footballer’s life to be in the balance to teach us to appreciate the simple things and that sport is nothing to be stressed about.
While Covid has taught us that it also showcased how harsh the universe can be and how it doesn’t discriminate when it comes to grief.
Unfortunately the events in Copenhagen reminded us that as much as fans will come together and see the bigger picture, greed isn’t far away.
Less than two hours after telling a friend’s girlfriend that his mate was receiving heart compressions, Schmeichel was picking a ball out of his own net. A man shouldn’t have to do those two things in the same day.
That he did; we should ask why? Unfortunately, I know the answer. TV companies and UEFA prioritise money and it will take a lot for them to do anything that will cost them revenue.
Showing a girl crying while she watches her boyfriend go into cardiac arrest makes good TV.
UEFA don’t want to upset their advertisers by changing their schedule.
Yet both have the nerve to preach that nothing is more important than the players health?
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