Pele to miss London tribute dinner due to severe exhaustion
Brazilian legend taken to hospital after collapsing on Thursday
Pele used a walking frame to stand on stage during the opening event of the 2018 Carioca Football Championship in Rio de Janeiro on Monday. Photograph: Mauro Pimentel/AFP/Getty Images
Pele will be unable to attend a London tribute dinner in his honour after he collapsed and was taken to hospital in Brazil with severe exhaustion.
Pele has struggled with health issues and has been pictured using a cane to aid his walking due to problematic hips and knees in recent years. On Monday last he appeared on stage at a football launch in Rio de Janeiro using a walking frame.
Those ongoing concerns over the welfare of Pele exacerbated in December last year when he arrived at the 2018 World Cup draw in Russia using a wheelchair.
The Football Writers’ Association said in a statement that the three-time World Cup winner with Brazil, now aged 77, would not be able to come to its event on Sunday.
“In the early hours of Thursday morning, Pele collapsed and was taken to hospital in Brazil where he has undergone a series of tests which appear to point to severe exhaustion. He remains on fluids while doctors monitor his recovery,” the FWA said.
“Thankfully, there is no suggestion of anything more serious than exhaustion and everybody at the Football Writers’ Association wishes Pele a swift and full recovery.”
The FWA statement continued: “Understandably, his medical situation prevents him from travelling to London for the Football Writers’ Association Tribute Night on Sunday evening at The Savoy.
“But after discussions with Pele and his team, he has insisted the event should continue, not least because many of Pele’s friends are travelling from overseas to be with us on Sunday.
“While it is incredibly sad Pele cannot attend the function, the FWA are grateful that all those who have been asked to pay tribute on the night – Gareth Southgate, Cliff Jones, Gordon Banks and Steve Hunt – are determined to help make the evening a memorable one.
“Pele’s team have also asked that we film the event and send a copy to Brazil in the knowledge it will lift the great man’s spirits to see his friends are thinking of him and sending their best wishes. With that in mind, we want to do Pele proud and make Sunday night as memorable as possible.
“It goes without saying, Pele has an open invitation to any of our functions once he regains his health and we are already discussing the possibility of him joining us in May for the Footballer of the Year dinner.”
The former Brazil striker also pulled out of the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro due to unspecified health reasons.