Officials in Bangalore came under fire after 25-year-old Bangalore Mars striker Venkatesh lost his life due to lack of medical facilities after he suffered a cardiac arrest.
With no doctor or ambulance available at the Bangalore Football stadium, Venkatesh — who came on as a substitute in the second half during a Bangalore District Football Association ‘A’ Division match against South Western Railway — had to be taken to the hospital in a tuk-tuk (auto-rickshaw) by his teammates. He was declared dead on arrival.
All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel yesterday warned that strict action would be taken against those found guilty of negligence.
In a bid to avoid such a catastrophe here, Mumbai District Football Association authorities have got their guards up. “We were instructed to be prepared and ensure everything is ready,” MDFA committee member John Alphonso, who overlooks the running of the Elite Division, told MiD DAY.
Elite Division chairman Hugh Fernandes touched on the same sentiment: “We must always be alert. We have an ambulance and a physio at the venues. The ambulance has it’s own medical attendant. I sent out a message to all in charge to ensure that there is an ambulance available at all costs.”
But according to reliable sources, many Elite Division and Super Division matches at Poinsur Gymkhana and University Pavilion have been played without an ambulance and appropriate medical facilities this season, even without a stretcher on one instance.
Yesterday’s Elite Division matches were postponed for unknown reasons.