Roberto Mancini calls for more medical screening

 

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has demanded twice yearly medical screenings for Premier League players after admitting he was worried not enough is being done to protect them.

There has been no further update on the condition of Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba since last night, when it was confirmed the 23-year-old was able to answer questions and speak in both French and English.

It represents a dramatic improvement for Muamba, whose heart stopped for two hours following his collapse during the first half of his side's FA Cup quarter-final at Tottenham on Saturday evening.

Mancini was relieved at the latest bulletin but cannot understand how the Premier League has allowed a situation that puts the safety of players at risk.

"I was really worried on Sunday," the Italian said. "Today I have read he has improved and I am very happy for him and his family.

"But if you want to know my opinion, it is that here in England, the best championship in the world, everything is fantastic.

"But we need to improve the medical side for the players.

"We need to screen the players often, maybe two times a year and they have to be more accurate because they don't do this.

"When I saw our medical two years ago, I was really worried. I said we need to do them better."

Past problems in Italy led to a far more stringent series of medical tests than the ones which players must undergo in England.

After replacing Mark Hughes as City boss in 2009, Mancini could not believe the Premier League, with all its money and claims of being the best league in the world, did not operate to the same standards.

"It is impossible that a young guy could die on the pitch because they didn't do a medical accurately," he said. "I want all the players, not just ours, to have more accurate medicals.

"And always, not once a year. Every six months. This is really important for the players because it is totally different today than it was 20 years ago. It is very important.

"What happened to Muamba and other players in the past can't happen again."

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has already announced there would be a review of medical procedures, even though the high level of care Muamba received after collapsing at White Hart Lane owed much to the fallout from the fractured skull suffered by Chelsea goalkeeper Cech five and a half years ago.

At the time, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho hit out at the delay in Cech being transferred to hospital following his serious head injury during a game at Reading.

Chelsea made an official complaint that led to a Premier League and Football Association review, from which measures were introduced that included an ambulance being in place at stadia for the exclusive use of players and club doctors attending every game.

Speaking at the Sport Industry Breakfast club in London this morning, Scudamore said: "Incidents and events shape policy, shape developments, shape progress.

"What we will certainly be doing is looking at every aspect of what happened and if there are ways and means of improving, if there are ways and means of making it better in the future - just like we did in 2006-07 following the Petr Cech incident - we will do everything we can to make sure we reduce to the point of elimination, if we possibly can, things like that.

"There are no guarantees but we will do whatever we can to improve."

Scudamore admitted the Cech incident had been "a wake-up call" for the Premier League.

He added of Muamba: "It's been a difficult three days for everybody involved in the game, particularly those closest to Fabrice.

"The whole of the last three days, we've played out lots of scenarios, clearly.

"Let's hope, God willing, that the progress he's making continues to be made and that he makes as decent a recovery as he can.

"In some ways, his life, if it is saved - and let's hope it has been saved - is as a result of the things a lot of us put in place after what happened with Petr Cech.

"If you saw what happened on Saturday, the immediate attention, everybody comes out of this with huge credit, the referee, the match officials, the way the medics were there.

"Jose Mourinho made some strident comments about the treatment that Petr Cech got.

"Everything that we've put in place since helped Fabrice at least have a chance."

PA

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