Chris Ralph, 47, played for Chagford in the South Devon Football League
Chris Ralph, 47, played for Chagford in the South Devon Football League

A footballer has died after collapsing with a suspected cardiac arrest during a cup final game in Devon.

Chris Ralph, 47, played for Chagford FC in the Veteran's County Cup final against Topsham Town in Newton Abbot, and collapsed during the first half.

The father-of-four collapsed 29 minutes into the match and was taken to Torbay Hospital, where he later died.

The club said he was a "fine player, a loyal clubman and great family man".

The South Devon Football League, which Ralph played in for many years, asked clubs to hold a minute's silence in his honour.

Chagford Football Club secretary John Pearce said: "The club is stunned by this event, but our thoughts must be with Chris's family at this time of great sorrow."

A statement on the club website said: "It is with much sadness we have to tell you of the death of one of our players, Chris Ralph.

"Chris collapsed during the Veterans' County Cup final and, despite the best efforts of everyone at the ground, the paramedics and the staff at Torbay Hospital, passed away soon after arrival at the hospital. The cause appears to have been a heart attack."

Ralph played as either a defender or a midfielder and his death comes just two weeks after Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba collapsed during the first half of an FA Cup match against Tottenham Hotspur.