A goal celebration goes horribly wrong… Watch here.
It is very hard to describe the jubilation one feels after scoring a goal. Instantly the goal scorer finds all eyes focused on his accomplishment, which usually leads to some form of harmless celebration. However during a Tuesday match in India’s Mizoram Premier League, one’s player decision to celebrate proved to be his last, in what is quite possibly the worst goal celebration ever.
Jubilation instantly turned to tragedy in a match that took place on Tuesday, when Bethlehem Vengthlang FC midfielder Peter Biaksangzuala died on the field after failing to complete a somersault in celebration for a goal he scored. The shocking turn of events could have avoided catastrophe as he completed his first somersault, only to land awkwardly on the second attempt, causing severe and irreversible spinal cord damage, ultimately leading to his death on Sunday.
"We are shocked by the case. We at the Mizoram Football Association did all we could but could not save him," MFA secretary Lalnghinglova Hmar told Reuters by telephone. After scoring the equaliser against Chanmari West FC and failing to safely celebrate, confusion could be seen on the field as an unconscious Biaksangzuala was quickly surrounded by teammates who immediately gestured for help.
"The association president also being the state health minister, did all that was possible even though he was out of station. We considered the option to fly him to Delhi but his condition was pretty bad. He was mostly unconscious, occasionally spelling out a few words," Hmar tells Reuters.
To honour this fallen football hero Bethlehem has decided to retire the number 21 jersey he wore, and will play tribute to him by organizing a special match in his honour. This preventable tragedy has drawn the attention of FIFA officials who fear a repeat of this incident. "Reasonable celebrations are allowed, but the practice of choreographed celebrations is not to be encouraged when it results in excessive time-wasting and referees are instructed to intervene in such cases,” said FIFA in a statement to Reuters.
As it stands FIFA already enforces rules against excessive celebration that stipulate an automatic yellow card if a player removes his shirt, covers his face with mask, makes a provocative gesture or climbs over the perimeter fence to celebrate.
It is still unclear if this incident will result in further regulations. However FIFA allows any national association the ability to propose a change to the rules, and that suggestions must be submitted by December 1 to be considered at IFAB's next annual general meeting. If the issue is brought up at the general meeting there is chance that we will never see another player celebrate in somersault again. If somersaults aren’t banned then chances are this player wasn’t famous enough to convince FIFA to change the rules, because had it been Messi or Ronaldo who died on the field, FIFA would have instantly banned this needless life-threatening celebration.