Blatter laments O'Donnell tragedy
© AFP

Speaking on behalf of FIFA and the worldwide footballing community, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, has written a heartfelt letter to his counterpart at the Scottish FA, George Peat, to express his sympathy at the passing of Phil O'Donnell.

The 35-year-old Motherwell captain collapsed during a match against Dundee United and died a short time later. A post-mortem revealed that he had died of heart failure. He leaves a wife and four children.

In the letter, the FIFA President describes 'his great sadness' and writes: "It is inconceivable that at such a young age, a player who was leading his side to one of their best seasons has left us.

"He will be sorely missed, not only by fans of Motherwell, where he started his career aged 17, but by those of Celtic and Sheffield Wednesday, where he also left his mark, and by all those who love our sport."

Blatter also extends his condolences to Scottish football, but 'most importantly, to Phil O'Donnell's family, friends and loved ones.'

O'Donnell, who earned one cap for Scotland, was heralded as one of the country's brightest talents when he broke into the Motherwell first team as a teenager in 1991.

Three years later he moved to Celtic for £1.75m, but injury problems hindered his progress there and at Sheffield Wednesday, where he was limited to just 20 league appearances in four and a half years.

O'Donnell returned to Motherwell in 2004 and became club captain, playing alongside his nephew, David Clarkson, hence his nickname of 'Uncle Phil', a moniker which will always be uttered with fondness by the Fir Park faithful.

To read the FIFA President's letter, please click on the link to the right.