Tragically, 25-year-old goalkeeper Arne Espeel has died during a match while playing for Belgian side Winkel Sport B. The incident occurred while playing against Westrozebeke at Sint-Eloois-Winkel, West Flanders Province. Espeel had just saved a penalty and dropped to the ground immediately afterwards. Emergency services rushed onto the pitch and used a defibrillator to try and save him, but unfortunately, he was later confirmed dead at the hospital.
A statement from the Belgian club read: ‘Winkel Sport is in very deep mourning at the sudden passing of goalkeeper Arne Espeel. We wish Arne’s family and friends our heartfelt condolences at this heavy loss. Football is taking a back seat for some time.’
The team’s assistant Stefaan Dewerchin added: ‘The ball was still in play. Our goalkeeper got up as fast as possible to receive the ball, but then he fell. It was really terrible to watch. All the players showered together after the incident. When the message came that our goalkeeper was dead, it was an unusually heavy blow. I think some players still don’t realise exactly what happened.’
Espeel had a long association with Winkel Sport, being dearly loved by the club and its sporting director Patrick Rotsaert, who said: ‘It’s a tragedy and a shock to us. Arne had been with the club his whole life, and he was dearly loved. It’s a really hard blow.’ An autopsy was scheduled to take place on Monday with the cause of Espeel’s death as of yet unconfirmed.
The death of Arne Espeel has been devastating news for both his family and friends as well as the Winkel Sport B community, who are mourning the loss of their beloved goalkeeper. Our thoughts and condolences go out to everyone affected by this tragedy.