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Bayern Munich’s Ribery faces probe over prostitution scandal

One of Bayern Munich’s star footballers, Frenchman Franck Ribery, may be charged over alleged relations with an underage call girl, but says he did not know she was a minor, a judicial official said on Monday.

Bayern Munich's Ribery faces probe over prostitution scandal
A file photo of Ribery in Munich. Photo: DPA

The case falls less than two months before Ribery, the Bayern Munich midfielder and one of the stars of his national team, is due to play for France in the football World Cup in South Africa.

The prosecution service official, who declined to be named according to regular French practice, told AFP that Ribery had admitted having relations with the prostitute but says he did not know she was underage.

“It is up to the judge Andre Dando to decide whether or not to bring charges against him,” the source said.

Soliciting sex with an underage minor in France carries a three-year jail term and a fine of €45,000.

On Sunday, Ribery’s lawyer Sophie Bottai told AFP the player was quizzed as a witness by French police investigating prostitution in a case centred on a Paris night club frequented by certain French internationals.

The judicial official said on Monday that investigators had found evidence of prostitution involving minors at the club.

Bottai said 27-year-old Ribery was summoned by police to explain his relationship with an acquaintance who had connections with a call girl ring and stressed that no charges had been brought against him.

L’Equipe newspaper reported Sunday that a third French international player could be questioned in the coming weeks as part of the same investigation.

“There is no reaction to give on a matter like this,” the president of the French Football Federation Jean-Pierre Escalettes told AFP on Sunday.

“An investigation is underway and I have no information on that. At the moment it is not possible to make a comment,” he added.

Ribery is a key player in the French international side, taking over in the midfield from Zinedine Zidane who was a mainstay in the French team that won the World Cup in 1998 and reached the final four years ago.

He made his breakthrough into football’s big-time with Marseille in France before transferring to Bayern Munich. He has been linked with a high-profile transfer to Spain or possibly England in the close season this summer.

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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.

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