The 2021 UEFA President's Award will be awarded to Danish national team captain Simon Kjaer and the medical staff – dubbed the “heroes of Copenhagen” – in recognition of their actions on 12 June 2021, when they rushed to the aid of Christian Eriksen after he collapsed during the Denmark v Finland match at Euro 2020.
The UEFA President's Award recognises outstanding achievements, professional excellence and exemplary personal qualities. First introduced by UEFA in 1998, the accoladed is awarded to figures who have advanced the game's development and success each year.
In announcing the 2021 recipients, UEFA underlined the outstanding conduct of Simon Kjaer on the pitch and praised the quick reaction of the medical teams of the stadium and the Denmark national team, whose actions were crucial in saving Eriksen’s life.
“I would like to thank Morten [Skjoldager], Morten [Boesen] and the medical team who helped in Parken on 12 June,” said Eriksen. “You did a fantastic job and saved my life. Also a big thanks to my friend and captain Simon and my teammates in the Danish team for your support, both on 12 June and afterwards. Thanks to all the fans who have sent messages to me and my family. It means a lot and has given us strength and support. Thank you.”
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin praised the wonderful response by all those involved on 12 June.
“They are the true heroes of EURO 2020,” he said. “It is indeed a great honour for me to present them with the UEFA President's Award. This year, the President’s Award transcends football. It serves as an important and eternal reminder of just how precious life is and puts everything in our lives into the clearest perspective. I would also like to send my very best wishes to Christian Eriksen and his family as he continues his recovery,”
Simon Kjaer spoke about the reaction of the Denmark team in the immediate aftermath of Eriksen’s collapse.
“It's something that will stay with us for the rest of our lives,” he said. “The team reacted as a unit… as a team. We made the maximum effort to stick together and try to get through that situation and be as helpful as possible. I try to lead the team on and off the pitch, in every aspect of life, as footballers, when we’re together. I’ve known Christian [Eriksen] for many years. [He] has a great family, he has a lot of friends, a lot of teammates that want the best for him. As long as he’s happy and his family is good, I’m happy.”
Recipients of the 2021 UEFA President’s Award:
On-site medical team
Mogens Kreutzfeldt (chief medical officer)
Frederik Flensted (stadium medical manager)
Anders Boesen (pitchside emergency doctor)
Peder Ersgaard (paramedic)
UEFA Venue Medical Officers
Danish national medical team
Morten Skjoldager (physio accompanying the team doctor)
Morten Boesen (team doctor)
Simon Kjær (Denmark national team captain)