Podolski fined for slapping Ballack

Germany striker Lukas Podolski has agreed to pay €5,000 to the German Football Federation (DFB) by way of reparation for slapping national captain Michael Ballack, the DFB announced on Friday.

Podolski fined for slapping Ballack
Photo: DPA

The DFB said, however, that they did not believe the Bayern Munich forward would be punished for his actions by football’s world governing body FIFA.

“Up until now, FIFA have not intervened,” a DFB spokesperson explained. “We are working on the principle that the referee for the game saw what happened and decided not to punish him.”

Podolski could theoretically have been sent off the field following the confrontation with Ballack, which took place during Germany’s 2-0 victory over Wales in a World Cup 2010 qualifier in Cardiff on Wednesday.

The altercation continued to make headlines in Germany two days after the event, despite the German management team deciding not to punish Podolski for his actions.

Podolski, named best young player at the 2006 World Cup, admitted that he had “over-reacted.”

“It was a bad reaction and I apologise,” he said.

‘Prince Poldi’, as he is known in Germany, came in for strong criticism in the German media on Friday, with daily Bild speaking of a “scandal” and a “slap in the face for (national coach) Joachim Low and the whole of German football.”

In an attempt to dampen the furore, the DFB announced on Friday that Podolski would contribute €5,000 towards a fair play initiative organised by the federation.

“It’s a fair decision after an unacceptable piece of behaviour,” said DFB president Theo Zwanziger. “When it comes to professional footballers, they have to be role models who are conscious of their responsibilities towards society.”

Podolski, who had disagreed with Ballack over tactics, has received the support of his club manager Jürgen Klinsmann, himself a former striker for the German team.

“For us, there is no problem,” Klinsmann said. “What happened is part of football.”


British football teams allowed to skip Germany’s quarantine for Euro 2020

Germany's government announced on Tuesday it will allow England, Scotland and Wales to enter the country without quarantine to play at Euro 2020 despite a recent rise in cases linked to the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Britain.

British football teams allowed to skip Germany's quarantine for Euro 2020
One of the venues for Euro 2020 is in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

The three teams could potentially reach the quarter-final held in Munich on July 2nd.

If that were the case, they would be exempt from the rule that travellers from the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland must currently observe a 14-day isolation period due to the virus strain of concern – Delta – first identified in India.

“The people accredited for the European football Championship are exempt from the quarantine obligation, even after arriving from an area impacted by a variant” Berlin said in a statement.

“This exemption concerns all the people who have been accredited by the organising committee for the preparation, participation, the holding and the follow-up of international sporting events,” it added.

The exemption does not include fans, who will be obliged to follow German government self-isolation rules.

Germany declared the UK a ‘virus variant area of concern’ on May 23rd due to rising cases linked to the Delta variant in parts of the country. 

READ ALSO: Germany makes UK ‘virus variant area of concern’: How does it affect you?

This reclassification came just seven days after the UK was put back on Germany’s list at the lowest risk level, and barely a month after it was taken off all risk lists completely.

The ban was put in place despite the UK’s relatively low Covid rates as a precautionary measure.

A general ban on entry is in place for people coming from countries on the ‘virus variant’ list – such as India and Brazil – the highest of Germany’s risk categories. 

There are some exceptions for entering from these countries – for example German residents and citizens. However, anyone who does enter from Germany is required to submit a Covid-19 test before boarding the flight and must quarantine for 14 days on arrival, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or not.

READ ALSO: Germany’s new relaxed quarantine and testing rules after travel

Euro 2020 starts on Friday as Italy host Turkey in Rome with the Bavarian city hosting three group games as well as the last-eight match.

Around 14,000 fans will be allowed into the Allianz Arena for the fixtures.