A 23-year-old Indian footballer has died from severe spinal cord damage after attempting to celebrate a goal with a somersault.
Bethlehem Vengthlang FC midfielder Peter Biaksangzuala died on Sunday at a hospital in the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram after the incident in Tuesday’s match in the third tier Mizoram Premier League (MPL).
“We are shocked by the case. We at the Mizoram Football Association did all we could but could not save him,” MFA secretary Lalnghinglova Hmar told Reuters by telephone.
After scoring the equaliser against Chanmari West FC, a flipping Biaksangzuala landed awkwardly and was lying unconscious as his team mates surrounded him and gestured for help.
“The association president also being the state health minister, he did all that was possible even though he was out of station.
“We considered the option to fly him to Delhi but his condition was pretty bad. He was mostly unconscious, occasionally spelling out a few words.”
Token of respect
Bethlehem has decided to retire the number 21 jersey as a tribute to Biaksangzuala while Hmar said MFA would organise a match in his memory.
FIFA said that any additional measures curbing goal celebrations would have to be approved by football’s rule-making body, the International Football Association Board (IFAB).
“This is a tragedy and we are very concerned about this incident,” said FIFA in a statement to Reuters.
“It is the responsibility of IFAB to rule on amendments to the Laws of the Game.”