Moment brutal Pancake Day ball game which dates back to the 12th Century descended into chaos – leaving a steward in hospital in a critical condition
The Atherstone Ball Game has taken place every year since the 12th century Rival teams form Warwickhire and Leicestershire take part in the violent gameKilling people is against the rules and the winner is holding the ball at the end The game was halted this year after a steward collapsed and taken to hospital
A medieval football game played on Pancake Day had to be abandoned after one of the stewards fell ill.
There was no winner of the 821st Atherstone Ball Game on Tuesday after it was abandoned when a long-serving marshal required medical treatment.
The event, held annually since the 12th century in Atherstone, Warwickshire, see hundreds of people grapple for control of a large ball, with the winner being whoever is in possession at the end of a two-hour period.
The Atherstone Ball Game is played each year since the 12th century by teams from Warwickshire and Leicestershire
The game, which has been described as the most brutal in the world, has two rules. Participants are banned from killing anyone. The second rule confirms that the winner is the team who holds the ball at the end of the contest
The on-site medical team treated the steward who was taken to hospital by air ambulance
But this year’s Shrovetide contest, which started at 3pm, was halted prematurely after an ambulance was called just before 4pm.
The Ball Game committee decided to abandon the event as police officers, ambulances and an air ambulance attended the scene in the rear car park of the Atherstone Conservative Club.
Following treatment from paramedics at West Midlands Ambulance Service, the marshal was airlifted from the scene in the air ambulance.
Organisers had warned participants they had ‘the eyes of the world on them and 820 years of history at stake’ before it got underway outside Atherstone Conservative Club on Long Street.