Is Football Only Football Or A Global Communication Tool?

Picture of By Emre Yalçın

By Emre Yalçın

The Euro2020 championship was played in 2021. I know it sounds weird, but Covid-19 changed a lot of things, including the tournament schedules, regulations for the audience and the saluting of the players. Handshakes left their place for the fist bump, and hugs are not that common. But football is still the same football. After many long hours of matches and amazing saves from the goalkeeper, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Italy won the cup for the first time in 55 years. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the leagues have been played without any audience in the live game. I must admit, it was really not fun to watch the games while you could even hear what the players spoke between them. Luckily, the Euro2020 allowed for a limited number of people in the audience. Overall, I think the most important event is what happened to Christian Eriksen during the first match of the Danish team in this tournament and what it led to.

The tournament

I am not a huge football fan but when it comes to the international cups, it gives me huge pleasure to watch the games. The multicultural environment and different football schools playing against each other show how a game could be played with various styles. I was enjoying the tournament (well, not that much after Italy defeated Turkey) until the third match.

On June 12, 2021, for the first match of Group B, Denmark played against Finland. The match was important for the Finnish National Team because in their history, Euro2020 is the first major tournament that they participated in. I was really curious about the match, to be honest, I was really expecting the Finns to surprise the audience like Iceland did in Euro2016. Until the 42nd minute, the game was really enjoyable for me.

Christian Eriksen was also performing well. Eriksen currently plays for Inter Milan but during his career in Ajax, he was considered as one of the best players in his position as a midfielder. Also, his personality gained a large fan population around the globe.

What happened to Eriksen?

It was not that we know Eriksen very well but because we could closely see the line between life and death.

3 minutes before the end of the first half, Eriksen suddenly fell to the ground, looking at the referee’s panicked movements, it was obvious that something serious has happened to him. Later, the authorities announced that he had a heart attack. It was so quiet for us, no one including the speaker could say anything, the audience in the field looked terrified. It was not that we know Eriksen very well but because we could closely see the line between life and death. The video mixing desk could not stop showing Eriksen in the field whilst the paramedic team was helping him – well, I don’t think it was the video-mixing desk’s fault, but lack of experience. The team members lead by Simon Kjaer took a huge responsibility by circling Eriksen and closing the view from the cameras and the audience in the stadium.

Collapse and Share

Despite all the efforts of the Danish players, it was impossible for the press to stop shooting footage from the scene. Social media was really fast to spread disinformation about Eriksen’s health status. In just seconds “#Eriksen” was getting rocket-trending on Twitter. Many photos and videos of the incident were shared.

One big argument by the conspiracy theorists was the Covid-19 vaccine that he supposedly got was the cause for his collapse. 29-year-old Eriksen, along with the other high-end football players, is one of the healthiest people on earth, they work out daily, their medical conditions tracked by serious tests, so the anomaly for this heart attack could have been the vaccine. The first time the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was linked with cardiac problems was when the second dose of the same vaccine caused myocarditis in young men 16 years old and older. There are actually a small number of cardiac cases linked with the vaccine compared to the number of vaccinated people. However, Eriksen never got vaccinated

What did this sad incident show us?

We don’t really think about what others would feel. I know it sounds selfish, but when Eriksen fell unconscious, the video footage was shared millions of times on social media, with a message of “hope he will be fine”. Eriksen’s partner Sabrina Kvist Jensen was on the pitch and she was (obviously) really concerned about him, this is a traumatic event that one probably will not like to remember in any case.

Some platforms try hard to spot and stop disinformation but what happens when there is no illegal or non-disturbing content? Basically, nothing happens.

Social media is a place where people can share thoughts without any restrictions. Alright, I must admit, some platforms try hard to spot and stop disinformation but what happens when there is no illegal or non-disturbing content? Basically, nothing happens. They could be still posted and shared. We should be really careful while we are sharing, especially with the content that we repost or re-share. When Eriksen moved out of the field, I read many comments online claiming that he passed away. I wanted to see the official comments and eventually we saw that his situation was stabilised. This also illustrates how easy it is to kill someone.

Christian Eriksen, one of the favourites of the tournament, left the rally really early. I think nothing is more important than life. I also believe we should keep in mind that life is the most significant thing we have, we must bear this all the time.


Cover: Juan Salamanca

Edited by Carolina Alves

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