Posted on Apr 16
The head of Italy's third and fourth division football leagues has threatened to call off matches this weekend unless teams guarantee that they have a defibrillator at their grounds.
Lega Pro president Francesco Ghirelli said he wants clubs to ensure they have the life-saving equipment, after the death last weekend of Livorno's Piermario Morosini, who collapsed during a division two match at Pescara.
"By Thursday we want a written confirmation from the club presidents that as agreed upon at the beginning of the season, there will be a defibrillator at the ground, otherwise there won't be any play on Sunday," Ghirelli said.
Automated external defibrillators (AED) can be crucial in helping to save people's lives by giving an electric shock in some cases of cardiac arrest.
There is always one either at the ground or in the ambulance on stand-by outside at professional football matches in Italy but that is not the case for amateur or youth sport.
The use of an AED at Pescara on Saturday was reportedly delayed by three minutes due to the ambulance being blocked from entering the stadium by a police car parked in front of an entrance.
However the AED would not have been used on the player as his heart had already stopped beating.
Defibrillators are used if the heart is still active and are applied in cases where the heart is beating in a life-threatening, dysfunctional pattern. Its use allows the heart to establish a regular pattern.
According to the British Heart Foundation, the chances of survival in cases of cardiac arrest decreases by 14 percent for every minute with which an AED is not used.
In the wake of Morosini's death, Italian Football Federation president Giancarlo Abete vowed to increase the use of AEDs at football grounds, although without giving any specific details.