ROME: All weekend football in Italy has been called off following the death of Livorno midfielder Piermario Morosini (right, on stretcher) on Saturday, the Italian Football Federation said.
The 25-year-old, on loan from Serie A side Udinese, collapsed on the pitch during a second division game at Pescara and was later pronounced dead in hospital.
Morosini’s death comes just under a month after Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest during his side’s FA Cup quarter-final match with Tottenham, prompting calls for more stringent medical checks on footballers. The Italian Football Federation general manager Antonello Valentini responded to Saturday’s tragedy by suspending all remaining weekend football, starting with the Serie A match between AC Milan and Genoa. The match had been due to kick-off at 1600 GMT. Fans already at the San Siro stadium responded to that announcement largely with applause, although some jeered.
Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Petrucci later invited all Italian sports federations to observe a minute’s silence in memory of Morosini.
Morosini suffered a suspected heart attack during the first half of the match. He collapsed suddenly and was treated on the pitch before being taken away by ambulance to the Civile Santo Spirito hospital in Pescara. But he was later pronounced dead.
The player had been conscious when put in the ambulance. “He looked me in the eyes when he entered the vehicle,” Pescara chief executive Danilo Iannascoli told Sky television. “Morosini fell, he tried to get back up but fell again. Our masseur realised what was happening.”