Inter Milan midfielder Christian Eriksen has been told that he could be allowed to resume his football career in England, if he was to pass an assessment by a sports cardiologist acting on behalf of the FA.
The 29-year-old has not played since he suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark’s opening Euro 2020 game with Finland on June 12. The former Tottenham playmaker collapsed during the first half of the match in Copenhagen and required a defibrillator to be used on the pitch before he was transferred to a local hospital where he was eventually declared to be in a stable condition.
Six days later Eriksen was fitted with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, a type of pacemaker. That currently prevents him from being able to play in Italy where athletes are not allowed to compete with a heart defibrillator implanted as per the Cardiological Organisational Committee for Sports Fitness protocol, last updated in 2017.
While nothing has been decided by Inter or Eriksen over his future, if the Danish international does want to return to action he looks set to have to join a league where he can play with an ICD, which is also the case for Ajax defender Daley Blind, and the Premier League could be an option.
“With regard to Christian Eriksen playing in England, it is impossible to comment on his individual circumstances without knowledge of his condition and the risks associated with it. As always, any assessment would be on an individual basis,” an FA spokesperson said.
“In England, any player that has an abnormal cardiac screen or who develops a cardiac problem would be assessed by a sports cardiologist.
“We would expect the sports cardiologist to be a member of The FA Cardiac Consensus Panel. They are a group of experienced sports cardiologists who advise The FA with regard to these issues and provide consultation and screening expertise for our cardiac screening programmes in professional football.
“This would also be done in association with the team doctor who usually looks after them. The cardiologist would look at the individual circumstances and the risk surrounding the player. They would make a decision on whether the player could continue to play or should stop.”
Eriksen would be warned of risks
Any advice offered based on the results would be made with the player’s “own personal safety” in mind, with the FA overseeing around 1,500 cardiac screens in professional football per year.
No player has been banned based on a cardiac screen. But any participant would be made aware of the risks they are taking should they continue to play.
Eriksen spent seven seasons in England with Spurs before he joined Inter in 2020. He helped them win the Serie A title last season. However, he will have to leave the San Siro to keep playing or have his ICD removed.
“The FA would not ban someone from playing based on a cardiac screen,” an FA spokesman continued.
“Any risk is to the player themselves and not to others on the pitch. So it is an individual decision which the player takes with support and advice from those who are responsible for their personal medical wellbeing.
“In Italy, there is a longstanding nationwide cardiac screening policy which runs across all sports participation. That does not allow participation in a case of increased risk of sudden cardiac arrest during exercise. This has not been adopted in other countries, including the UK.”