‘Clubs like us need funding to save lives’

Defibrillator call: Mark McDonnell and Hugh McKinnion from Euxton Villa
Defibrillator call: Mark McDonnell and Hugh McKinnion from Euxton Villa
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Members of an amateur football club have been told they do not qualify for funding for life-saving defibrillators.

Euxton Villa play in the Premier Division of the West Lancashire League.

But they have been unable to secure funding through a Football Association (FA) scheme.

Clubs in the Football Conference (Step One) right down to clubs in the North West Counties (Step Six) qualify for FA defibrillator funding.

However Step Seven clubs, like Euxton, do not qualify.

FA regulations say clubs at other levels must also have medical staff, but they are not needed in Step Seven.

Villa club secretary and groundsman, Hugh McKinnion, said: “We don’t have to have medical staff on site yet bigger clubs do and they receive funding.

“Yet we, a struggling amateur club, cannot get any money and defibrillators are very expensive.”

The club has sent letters to the FA to protest but so far has heard nothing back.

Villa manager Mark McDonnell said: “I think it should be obligatory for every team to have one in the next two seasons. Hopefully the funding can be secured.”

More football clubs are getting defibrillators following the collapse of Bolton Wanderers’ Fabrice Muamba on the pitch during a match against Tottenham Hotspurs in March 2012.

He suffered a cardiac arrest and a defibrillator was used to try to restart his heart.

A spokesman for the FA said: “ We began with Steps One to Six of the National League System as, by and large, they are the clubs with the greater attendance and where their facilities are used on a more frequent basis.

“But we are approaching the end of phase two of the scheme and should be extending it to Step Seven clubs in the very near future.”