Sepp Blatter, president of football’s world governing body FIFA, has described Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba’s recovery from a cardiac arrest as “a miracle”.

Muamba collapsed during Bolton’s FA Cup match at Tottenham on Saturday, with his heart stopping for 78 minutes before he was revived by medical staff at the London Chest Hospital.

And Blatter, speaking at a UEFA congress in Istanbul, Turkey, has revealed he has also spoken to Bolton chairman Phil Gartside following Muamba’s collapse.

Blatter said: “It’s a miracle. When I saw it on the television, it was terrible. I had a phonecall from Phil Gartside, the chairman of Bolton, and I have to say it was a very emotional call.

“He spoke about a miracle and I spoke about a miracle. I am a deeply faithful man, a religious man, and I believe there is something more than just playing the game. There is somebody who looks after us,” continued Blatter.

Blatter was present when Cameroon’s Marc-Vivien Foe collapsed and died during a Confederations Cup match in France in 2003, and accompanied the player’s body back to his homeland.

And, following Foe’s death, Blatter was instrumental in urging clubs to regularly carry out cardiac screenings for all their players.

Blatter added: “Muamba had a heart screening last year and it should be done for everyone, in repetition, but especially for those in competition in football or other sports.”

Muamba, 23, remains in intensive care but is showing improvement day by day and has been able to speak to visiting family and friends.

And Dr Sam Mohiddin, the consultant cardiologist treating Muamba, told reporters: “Fabrice continues to demonstrate positive signs of recovery and has exceeded our expectations and hopes.”


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