Goalkeeper Arne Espeel has tragically died during a match while playing for Belgian side Winkel Sport B.
Espeel was just 25 years old when he collapsed on the pitch straight after saving a penalty against Westrozebeke at Sint-Eloois-Winkel, West Flanders Province.
The ‘keeper pulled off the save and then dropped to the ground, with emergency services running onto the pitch and using a defibrillator to try and save him.
Shortly after being taken to hospital, Espeel was confirmed to have died.
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, as confirmed by 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.