KLM refuses boarding of ALS sufferer, ex-footballer Fernando Ricksen

Fernando Ricksen and his wife, Europa League
Fernando Ricksen and his wife at a Europa League match between Zenit St. Petersburg and PSV Eindhoven. February 26, 2015Вячеслав Евдокимов - fc-zenit.ruWikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA

Former football player and ALS sufferer Fernando Ricksen was told he could not get onto a KLM flight from Valencia to Amsterdam on Thursday. He was refused because he is unable to loosen his seat belt by himself, his biographer Vincent de Vries said to the Gelderlander.

"Fernando is upset and does not understand the whole situation" De Vries said to the newspaper. Ricksen has a home in Valencia. On Thursday he was scheduled to fly to Amsterdam to meet De Vries. Together they were planning to fly to Glasgow on Friday to attend a charity match with Ricksen's former tea Glasgow Rangers.

"He called me angry and sad." De Vries said on Thursday. "Hopefully he can get on the plane tomorrow (Friday, ed.) and we can still make it."

What makes the situation worse, is that Ricksen is not an infrequent flyer. "He is a loyal customer of KLM", De Vries said to the newspaper. "In the past month Fernando was on a plane three times, so it's crazy that it is suddenly a problem. His situation has been the same for months."

KLM will investigate the incident, the airline said on Twitter.