Uefa introduces compulsory cardiac testing

LUCERNE - The tragic deaths of Antonio Puerta, Marc-Vivien Foe and other high-profile on-pitch fatalities have prompted Uefa to introduce compulsory cardiac testing for players at Euro 2008.

LUCERNE - The tragic deaths of Antonio Puerta, Marc-Vivien Foe and other high-profile on-pitch fatalities have prompted Uefa to introduce compulsory cardiac testing for players at Euro 2008.

The move was agreed on by Uefa's executive committee in Lucerne on Saturday on the eve of yesterday's draw for next year's finals, which are being co-hosted by Switzerland and Austria.

"We will require players of all teams to undergo mandatory cardiological screening before taking part in the competition," Uefa general secretary David Taylor said.

Puerta, 22, collapsed playing for Sevilla in a league game against Getafe on August 25 and died three days later from multiple organ failure stemming from prolonged cardiac arrest.

The Spaniard's death came four years after former Manchester United and Lyon star Foe collapsed and died while competing for Cameroon in a Confederations Cup semifinal in France. He was 28.

Taylor added: "Everybody in football is concerned that all possible precautions must be taken in terms of the medical well-being of players competing at high levels of competition.

"We will also require a team doctor to be on the bench at all Euro 2008 matches.

"It has been a common practice for team doctors to sit on the bench, but it has not been a regulatory requirement. We want to make sure this is now clear by putting it in the regulations.

"If something is found (when a player was tested), the person responsible will, in fact, be the team doctor of the national association concerned, because the screening will be conducted via the national association's own procedures and the team doctor has to sign off whether the player has passed the examination or not.

"The responsibility does not lie with Uefa directly and we expect this system to work perfectly." - Sapa-AFP

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