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Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Ambulance staff: Mourinho has got facts wrong

The emergency services have backed Reading's account of events which followed Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech suffering a fractured skull at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.

Blues boss Jose Mourinho claimed Chelsea waited 30 minutes for the ambulance to get to the right place after Cech's collision with Royals midfielder Stephen Hunt and that his goalkeeper had to leave his stretcher to get into a wheelchair so he could fit inside a lift, and that the delay could have cost Cech his life.

However, Mark Ainsworth, who was the ambulance duty officer on the scene, insists it took seven minutes for the ambulance to arrive from the time one was called.

'We support Reading Football Club with their statement of events,' he said.

'They are the accurate ones and I'm not sure where the confusion has arisen with Jose Mourinho's version of events.

'The player (Cech) was taken off the pitch and went down into the players' dress area as they normally would do, and was under the inspection of the Chelsea doctor there around 20 minutes before he called the paramedics to come and have a further assessment of him.

'It was 20 minutes before the doctor decided to actually get the paramedics to come and inspect him. We wouldn't routinely send the paramedics to inspect a player, they are under the care of the duty doctor provided by the club.

'The ambulance was called at 1745 and it arrived at 1752, so seven minutes from the time that the call came through to the ambulance control until they actually arrived at the scene.

'It left 12 minutes later, that was obviously taking him from the players' area up to the ambulance and actually leaving the ground area. He was taken in a lift from the players' dressing room up to where the ambulance was waiting to take him to Royal Berks (hospital).'

Mourinho complained that Cech 'could not leave the dressing room properly' and was taken out on a wheelchair and then taken in a lift to the ambulance, but Ainsworth maintains that was a decision taken by Chelsea's medical staff.

'We have two options for removing players from the ground, one of those is on a stretcher round the edge of the pitch in front of all the players and then out through the tunnel,' Ainsworth added.

'That was declined by the Chelsea doctor, he wanted to keep (Cech) out of the public eye, so the other option was to go in a wheelchair, in a lift, up to the waiting ambulance.'

Asked whether the local emergency services were unhappy with Mourinho's claims, Ainsworth told BBC Radio Five Live: 'We're slightly annoyed that he is bringing us into it all, we did our best for the player following the request of the Chelsea doctor. We took him (to hospital) as quickly as we would take any member of the public to hospital.

'We have been brought into it now but I have got every assurance for him and the rest of the Chelsea team that we did our utmost, as did the rest of the medical team, at the Madejski Stadium for the care of his players.'

Mourinho said on Tuesday: 'If my goalkeeper dies in that dressing room or in the process, it is something English football has to think about.

'I'd like somebody to tell me why my goalkeeper in this situation had to be for 30 minutes, in the dressing room, waiting for an ambulance.'

Chelsea's director of communications Simon Greenberg said on Wednesday morning: 'We have got several serious questions that we would like the FA, or the appropriate authority, to look into. Those will be submitted to the FA along with other questions regarding incidents that took place in the game.

'We issued a statement last night that specified incidents surrounding the two tackles and then subsequently the medical procedures that were in place. We would like those looked into.'




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