LONDON: Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba remains critically ill this morning [Sunday]  after collapsing on the pitch in the 41st minute of  his club’s FA Cup quarter-final against Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

Muamba, 23, was standing by himself when he fell. The game was subsequently abandoned by referee Howard Webb. The 23-year-old is being treated in the intensive care department of  the  heart attack centre at the London Chest Hospital.

On-pitch treatment for Fabrice Muamba. Inset: Earlier action between Gareth Bale and Muamba / Pictures: FOTOSPORTS.COM

Six team doctors from both sides had spent nearly 10 minutes applying compression, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and and defibrillator assistance on the pitch before he was carried off wearing an oxygen mask and was flanked by paramedics. Sports channel ESPN reported that he was not breathing as he was taken down the tunnel.

The other players, visibly shaken, were ordered off the pitch by referee Webb. Several players from both teams were in tears as the seriousness of the situation became apparent and fans sung Muamba’s name while he was being treated.

He was taken directly to hospital, accompanied by manager Owen Coyle and captain Kevin Davies, and the crowd was notified that the match had been abandoned.

A club statement read: “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,. No further information will be issued at this stage. The club and hospital request that the media and public respect the family’s privacy at this time.”

Both clubs praised the speed of action from the medical staff.

Muamba was born in what was then called Zaire on April 6, 1988. His father left the country because of political turmoil and settled in England. He came to London aged 11, went to school in Walthamstow three miles from the Tottenham ground and  later  joined Arsenal’s youth academy in 2002.

He played at under-21 level for England, left Arsenal for Birmingham City and moved on in 2008 to Bolton for whom he has made 148 appearances.

Gordon Taylor, the former Birmingham and Bolton player who is chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association,  said it was a “terrible thing to see for all the football family.”

Football Association chairman David Bernstein said their thoughts and prayers were with Muamba and his family. He added: “Fabrice has played 33 times for England Under-21s, captaining Stuart Pearce’s side during this time and is a player, and more importantly, a person we care greatly for.”

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore added: “The thoughts of the Premier League, its clubs and players are with Fabrice Muamba, his family and Bolton Wanderers. We would like to praise the players, match officials, coaching staff and medical teams of both clubs at White Hart Lane for their swift actions in attending Fabrice.

“The League would also like to commend the compassion shown by the fans of Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur. We hope to hear positive news about Fabrice who is and has been a wonderful ambassador for the English game.”

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