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FOOTBALL

Secrecy surrounds Ballack’s upcoming nuptials

Michael Ballack, German national football team captain and Chelsea midfielder, is to marry his long-time partner and hold a wedding reception next week at a yacht club at Bavaria’s Lake Starnberg. But the club isn’t providing any details.

Secrecy surrounds Ballack’s upcoming nuptials
Photo: DPA

“No comment“ is the answer reporters get to just about any question posed to officials, advisors or Michael Ballack’s office about the football star’s wedding, be it the date, the location or the party afterward. However, residents of the town of Starnberg, at the foot of the German alps, say the fact that Ballack will hold his wedding reception at the exclusive boating club is an open secret.

Some 400 guests are due to attend the reception, expected to take place July 14-15, according to the the Munich newspaper tz.

Ballack and his partner, 30-year-old Simone Lambe, who have known each other for 10 years and have three children, will probably wed in Munich, reported the DPA news agency. They applied for a marriage licence before the European football championships in June.

Media reports have speculated for days about the details. Apparently, the bachelor party will take place Monday evening, and the reception on the following day. However, yacht club manager Ilja Wolf won’t confirm details.

“There are lots of things in the papers,“ he told the DDP news agency, adding that he’d rather see his club written about in the sailing magazines than showing up in the gossip pages, where it has mostly been over the last couple of weeks.

Christian Herrmann, 43, who manages a swimming pool near the yacht club, isn’t that worried about fans and reporters posing as swimmers just so they can get a glimpse of the goings-on next door, since part of the club is visible from his facility.

“Maybe we’ll open everything up for a half hour or so and let people in to take their pictures, he told DDP.

For Starnberg residents, celebrities are old hat, since they’re often seen on the town‘s quaint streets. Ballack, his partner Simone Lambe and their three sons lived in the area before he transfered to Chelsea in 2006.

The restaurant next to the yacht club was frequented by Ballack, described as “a really nice guy“ by one employee. She’s expecting a bit of a commotion early next week, but says she doesn’t mind.

“It’ll bring us more business,“ she told DDP.

UKRAINE

German football club ends partnership with Russia’s Gazprom

German football club Schalke 04 announced Monday it had prematurely ended its partnership with Russian gas giant Gazprom following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

German football club ends partnership with Russia's Gazprom

The deal between the second-tier German club and Gazprom had been due to run until 2025 with Schalke receiving around €9 million ($10 million) per year in sponsorship.

Had the Gelsenkirchen-based club won promotion back to the Bundesliga at the end of this season, the sponsorship figure would have risen to €15 million annually.

Schalke had already removed the Gazprom logo from their shirts for Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Karlsruhe.

In a statement, Schalke said their finances were “unaffected by this decision”.

“The club’s management is confident that it will be able to present a new partner in the near future.”

READ ALSO: OPINION: Germany has scuppered Nord Stream 2 but there are questions left to answer

Gazprom representative Matthias Warnig resigned from the club’s supervisory board last Thursday.

Hans-Joachim Watzke, interim president of the German Football Association (DFB), had already hinted there could be financial aid for Schalke if they split from Gazprom.

“If this requires the solidarity of other clubs in Germany to get them out of this situation, then we have to discuss how we can manage that,” Watzke told ZDF.

READ ALSO: Germany set to shut airspace to Russian planes on Sunday

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