The Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba was fighting for his life last night after collapsing shortly before half-time during his team's FA Cup tie here, which had to be abandoned. After medical staff attempted to resuscitate him on the pitch for six minutes he was removed on a stretcher, wearing an oxygen mask, and taken to hospital.
Last night he was in a "critical condition".
With players of both sides clearly distressed, the referee, Howard Webb, consulted both managers and then took the teams off. Within a few minutes an official abandonment was announced.
A Bolton spokesman issued a brief statement, saying: "Bolton Wanderers can confirm that Fabrice Muamba has been admitted to The Heart Attack Centre at The London Chest Hospital where he is in a critically ill condition in intensive care," Bolton's manager, Owen Coyle, chairman Phil Gartside and the Bolton striker Kevin Davies accompanied Muamba in the ambulance.
Muamba, 23, was born in Kinshasa, in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and came to London after his father was granted permanent residence as a political refugee.
He was brought up in Walthamstow, joining the Arsenal academy and later playing for Birmingham City and Bolton, whom he joined in 2008. He has played for England at five age groups.