After the distressing scenes that unfolded during the Denmark and Finland game over the weekend, it was incredibly surprising to learn that the fixture would resume later that evening.
UEFA released a statement saying that the game would kick-off after a 'request made by players of both teams', although it seemed difficult to comprehend how those on the Danish side could think about a game of football after witnessing what their teammate Christian Eriksen had just gone through.
It has since emerged that they had little other choice.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of their game against Belgium, Denmark striker Martin Braithwaite said that they were told by UEFA that the game had to resume either that evening or the following day. There was no other option.
We had two choices from UEFA, to go out and play the match immediately or play the next day at noon.
None of those choices were good. We took the lesser of two evils to finish the match. Many of the players were not in a condition to play this match. We were in a different space...
It was not our wish. Those were the only options we had. We had two options and in that situation were told we had to make a decision. That is all I can say on that.
Had we wished there was a third option because you don't want to go and play football in that way, but UEFA says we had two options -- play immediately or the following day at noon. Those were the options we had.
This is something that Richie Sadlier had feared was the case.
Speaking on RTÉ the day after the game, he was curious to know what options the players had been given by UEFA.
Turns out there was another ‘option’ given to the traumatised Denmark players - forfeit the game and lose 3-0.
They were given an ultimatum, not a choice. Stay classy, @UEFA. #Eriksen #playerwelfare pic.twitter.com/3S8VRC7RdZ
— Richie Sadlier (@RichieSadlier) June 14, 2021
I'm curious to know, was there another option? If those two options were not satisfactory for those players, were they told there were consequences?
Would they forfeit the game, be expelled from the competition, or be banned from international tournaments? What was the consequence of not going with 'A' or 'B'?
If there was no wiggle room to agree 'let's finish it at 0-0 and move onto to matchday 2, let's have a point each', if there was no room for those scenarios it becomes less of a choice between last night or today.
It becomes an ultimatum. It's 'pick a day, but you're playing'.
It's the type of detail we may never hear, but I'd be interested to know what the players were put through.
While UEFA were faced with a difficult situation with broadcasting commitments and other factors, this does not reflect well on them.
The players from both teams deserved far better.