FIFA is not aware of any increase in the number of footballers having cardiac arrests while on the pitch. World soccer’s governing body also said it has not seen any cases attributed to individuals receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
Some posts on social media (here, here and here) say the number of players collapsing during matches or training has increased since the rollout of the shots.
One prominent former footballer wrote (here “How many more more (sic) sports people need to collapse on the pitch before an investigation takes place.”
Reuters presented these claims to FIFA, which said: “FIFA is not aware of a rise in episodes of cardiac arrests as indicated in your email and no cases have been flagged in relation to individuals receiving a COVID vaccine.
“Generally speaking, FIFA is in regular contact with leading research centres and experts to do research on a variety of medical topics.”
Reuters presented similar posts linking players collapsing and COVID-19 vaccines to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the British regulator for drugs and vaccines, which said there is no supporting evidence to back up such claims.
MHRA chief executive Dr June Raine said: “The MHRA closely monitors the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines, including reports of suspected heart inflammation, myocarditis or pericarditis.
“Myocarditis or pericarditis remains a very rare potential risk with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and the events reported are typically mild with individuals usually recovering within a short time with standard treatment and rest. The current evidence does not suggest that sporting exercise is a contributing risk for these very rare events.
“The public’s safety is our top priority. Our advice remains that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks in the vast majority of people. It is vitally important that people come forward for their vaccination and for their booster doses when invited to do so.
“We ask anyone who suspects they have experienced a side effect linked with their COVID-19 vaccine to report it to the Coronavirus Yellow Card website.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) told Reuters in an email they were “not aware of published or peer-reviewed research into alleged links between the COVID vaccine and a significant increase in sudden death in athletes due to myocarditis”.
Reuters has tackled the issue of athletes collapsing or dying from heart issues in a similar fact check here.
No evidence. There is no known evidence of a rise in footballers suffering cardiac arrests, nor have any cases been linked to COVID-19 vaccines, according to FIFA.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.