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`Footballer may have died of cardiac arrest'

By K.V. Subramanya

BANGALORE, DEC. 6. The 25-year-old Dempo footballer Cristiano Junior is suspected to have died of cardiac arrest.

Forensic experts at Victoria Hospital who conducted the autopsy on the body of Cristiano said "there was a block in one of the arteries and this could have led to a cardiac arrest," sources in the police told The Hindu . The Brazilian footballer collapsed and died after scoring a goal in the Federation Cup final against Mohun Bagan here on Sunday.

Autopsy report

Sources said the autopsy report would be ready by Tuesday. Cristiano's heart has been sent for histopathological examination and urine samples for chemical analysis.

The experts would give their final opinion only after obtaining these reports from the Forensic Science Laboratory, they said.

There were no external injuries on the body of the footballer, who was reportedly an asthmatic.

It is suspected that his windpipe was broken, sources said.

The Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime), M.C. Narayana Gowda, said the Sampangiramnagar police had registered a case of negligence leading to death under Section 304 (A) of the Indian Penal Code against the Karnataka State Football Association (KSFA), which had organised the tournament.

Complaint

In a complaint with the Sampangiramnagar police, the Dempo coach, Armando Colaco, has said that the KSFA, the Mohun Bagan goalkeeper, Subrata Paul, and the authorities of HOSMAT, where the footballer was taken, were responsible for Cristiano's death, Mr. Gowda said.

In the complaint, Mr. Colaco said though the Brazilian striker was lying on the field for 20 minutes after collapsing, he was not given any medical aid.

"He was taken to the faraway HOSMAT instead of the nearby Mallya Hospital."

Police to review footage

The police said they had requested the Doordarshan authorities to provide the complete footage of the match to ascertain the sequence of events that led to Cristiano's death.

On Monday morning, before Cristiano's body was flown to Goa, the Minister of State for Labour, Tanvir Sait, visited the Victoria Hospital mortuary and handed over a compensation cheque for Rs. 1 lakh to the Dempo team management.

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