FA deny advising Sunderland to withdraw Patrick van Aanholt from Spurs game

Patrick van Aanholt warming up at White Hart Lane
Patrick van Aanholt warming up at White Hart Lane

The Football Association have denied they advised Sunderland to pull Patrick van Aanholt out of the game against Tottenham Hotspur at the last minute.

The 26-year-old was withdrawn from the Sunderland team at the last minute on Sunday on the advice of heart specialists.

Moyes had claimed an FA panel of cardiologists had advised the club that the Dutch defender shouldn’t play, and was unhappy with the timing of the decision, just over half an hour before kick-off after Van Aanholt had already been named in the team and sent out to warm up.

However, the FA, which carries out around 1,400 screens across England and Wales each year, has insisted it had no formal involvement in the matter.

A spokesperson said: “This cardiac screen was not conducted as part of the FA’s cardiac screening programme, therefore the FA had no involvement in the player’s referral, the screening process or the communication of the results with the club.

“On occasion, clubs may seek independent advice on a player’s cardiac health from an expert cardiologist who sits on the FA Consensus Panel, which is an expert body in this area.

“Cardiologists who sit on the FA Consensus Panel are hugely respected and vastly experienced specialists who place the patient at the very centre of their care and their only concern will be in regard to the well-being of that individual.”

Moyes revealed in his press conference ahead of tomorrow’s game with Queens Park Rangers that Van Aanholt was stood down after medical chiefs had looked at the results of regulation cardiology tests and decided further investigation was required.

Moyes said: “He had the statutory checks with the cardiologists and the FA panel of cardiologists looked at it and advised us really late on Sunday that he should not play until further tests had taken place.

“We are just surprised that the FA panel didn’t contact me or contact my doctor until 3.55pm on Sunday afternoon. I have never in my career been put in a situation like that ever, so we had that to deal with.

“We just can’t understand why the message would come to us at that time, 30 minutes before the kick-off.”

Van Aanholt has now had further tests and been given the all-clear to play once again, although his manager is yet to decide if he will feature in the EFL Cup third-round trip to QPR.