Fan who collapsed at Northern Ireland Euro 2016 match 'died doing what he loved'


The family of a Northern Ireland football fan who died during the European Championship in Lyon said he died doing what he loved.

Robert Rainey, known as "Archie", collapsed during the game at the Olympique Lyonnais stadium and, despite the efforts of paramedics, could not be revived.

In a statement, the 64-year-old Belfast man's family thanked everyone for their support.

They said: "The family wish to confirm the sad news that our father Robert Rainey, known to everyone as Archie, has sadly passed away whilst in France supporting Northern Ireland at the Euros surrounded by all his friends and family, doing what he loved best.

"We are obviously devastated at this loss, and thankful for everyone's thoughts and prayers. We would appreciate privacy at this sensitive time."

The ground was packed with Northern Ireland supporters who travelled to France in droves to see their side's 2-0 victory over Ukraine in their first major tournament for 30 years.

Inside the upper part of the ground, fans left flags, shirts and scarves on seats in tribute to Mr Rainey.

Police Service of Northern Ireland Superintendent Nigel Goddard, who has been in France for the tournament, said: "Our thoughts are tragically with a second family this week mourning the devastating loss of their loved one.

"We understand the man aged in his 60s collapsed during the game and was attended to by emergency services in the Stade de Lyon.

"It is extremely sad that this is the second death of a Northern Ireland fan in France during the Euro 2016 games."

A paramedic who treated Mr Rainey said: "We tried but we could not. It is very sad."

In a statement the Irish Football Association also expressed saddness at the sudden death.

Chief executive Patrick Nelson said: "The fan passed away as he was watching the game in the stadium. This puts any result of a football match into perspective.

"The thoughts of the board, management, players and staff are with his family and friends at this sad time."

On Monday, Darren Rodgers, 24, from Ballymena in Co Antrim, fell 26ft (8m) to his death from a promenade in the south coast city of Nice.

Fans applauded his memory in tribute during the 24th minute of Thursday night's match.