A football match between Santa Venera Lightnings and Kirkop United was abandoned in the 44th minute on Thursday after Sta Venera Lightnings player Yau Mun Law collapsed on the pitch.

Mun Law received immediate treatment from the Malta FA paramedic on duty at the Centenary Stadium who used an AED (automated external defibrillator) to treat the player, who has been taken to Mater Dei Hospital.

The incident has sparked calls for rules to be changed to ensure an ambulance is present for lower league matches, with one of Mun Law's teammates saying it took 30 minutes for paramedics to reach the scene. 

The referee decided to abandon the BOV Third Division match following the incident.

In a statement, Sta Venera Lightnings said that Law was in a stable condition but was still receiving intensive treatment at Mater Dei Hospital.

“During the third division match between Sta Venera Lightnings and Kirkop United our captain Yau Mun-Law fell ill and lost consciousness,” the club said.

“Yau-Mun Law was given first assistance and was taken to Mater Dei Hospital by ambulance.

“His condition is stable, even though he is still receiving intensive treatment.

“The club would like to thank nurse Charlot Lanzon and photographer Walter Sargent who provided first assistance to the player.

“Sta Venera Lightnings is appealing to everyone to stay united and pray for our player. We would like to thank everyone who is giving us their support in this difficult moment.”

No ambulance is present during such games - an issue which football stakeholders have warned about in the past. 

Three years ago, the Malta Football Players Association had appealed to the authorities to ensure that an ambulance was in place when defender Yessous Camilleri, who at the time was on the books of Marsa, suffered a serious injury and no ambulance was at the venue to provide assistance.

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Sta Venera player Shamison Farrugia has said that he and his team-mates will not play another match if an ambulance is not present near the stadium.

“Our team-mate is getting the CPR because his heart stopped and no ambulance near the ground for assistance,” Farrugia wrote on his Facebook account.

“It took 30 minutes to come from Mater Dei to the Centenary Stadium, Ta’ Qali…. there should be a stand-by ambulance like there will be in Premier Division… we are not different… we play the same game and follow the same rules.

“Another thing… me and my team-mates are not going to play another football game unless there is an ambulance near the stadium… we all have our loved ones… not worth risking.”

The Malta Sports Journalists Association appealed to the football authorities to ensure the presence of at least one ambulance and a doctor for football matches.

 

“The Malta Sports Journalists Association wholeheartedly thanks its member, photographer Walter Sargent and praises his heroic intervention today when he acted instantly and gave the first crucial medical assistance to St Venera Lightnings player and club captain Yau-Mun Law who suffered a hearth failure during the BOV Division Three match vs Kirkop on Thursday evening at the Centenary Stadium,” the association said in a statement.

“Walter, all sport media and the sporting general public have no words to thank you enough.

“Last but not least whilst the Malta Sports Journalists Association wishes a speedy recovery to the player concerned we join the Maltese football community in its effort in putting more pressure on the MFA to secure that in the near future at least one ambulance or a doctor is present for each official MFA / YFA game in addition to the current scheduled nurse on duty.”

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