Search icon

Euro 2020

15th Jun 2021

Denmark coach criticises UEFA protocols that meant Finland game had to continue

Reuben Pinder

‘Coronavirus will postpone a match for 48 hours’

Denmark manager Kasper Hjulmand has criticised UEFA’s protocols that meant his side had to complete their match against Finland either the same day as Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest or the day afterwards at noon.

Eriksen collapsed to the turf halfway through their game against Finland on Saturday, suffering a cardiac arrest. CPR was applied quickly before the medical staff used a defibrillator to save his life. The Inter Milan midfielder has since posted to Instagram, informing the public that he is “fine, under the circumstances.”

But Hjulmand believes it is “wrong” that an outbreak of Covid-19 can see a game postponed by 48 hours, while a cardiac arrest doesn’t warrant the same leeway.

“Coronavirus allows you to postpone a match for 48 hours. A cardiac arrest obviously does not. That, I think, is wrong,” Hjulmand told a press conference on Tuesday.

“There is learning here. It was not the right decision to continue playing. The boys showed so much strength by going out and playing on.

“But I do not think it was the right thing to give us and the players the choice to go out and finish play on Saturday or Sunday.

“I felt that the players – and us close to them – were put under that pressure and were given that dilemma. It was a hugely difficult situation to be in.

“The only real leadership would have been to put the players on a bus and send them home and then deal with it after.

“You don’t necessarily find good leadership in the protocols. Good leadership can sometimes be to lead with compassion.”

UEFA on Monday defended its handling of the incident, saying in a statement: “UEFA is sure it treated the matter with utmost respect for the sensitive situation and for the players.

“It was decided to restart the match only after the two teams requested to finish the game on the same evening.

“The players’ need for 48 hours’ rest between matches eliminated other options.”