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FOOTBALL

‘I’m the captain,’ insists angry Ballack

German captain Michael Ballack hit back at his World Cup replacement Philipp Lahm Wednesday night, vowing in sharp tones he would stay on as the skipper despite Lahm's push to take over full-time.

'I'm the captain,' insists angry Ballack
Photo: DPA

Ballack, who has 98 caps to his name, is not yet ready to call time on his international career and launched a broadside at Lahm while giving his first press conference at new club Bayer Leverkusen.

“I am the captain of the national team,” said Ballack. “Philipp Lahm has made his claim at a moment that I feel is inopportune. I was injured and could not defend myself.

“There are hierarchies. I am going to talk to Philipp about this business.”

Lahm was given the armband for the World Cup in South Africa when the 33-year-old Ballack, who has captained the side since 2004, injured his ankle playing for Chelsea at the end of May.

With Germany reaching the semi-finals, the 26-year-old Lahm went on record to say that he would not hand back the captaincy unless told to do so by coach Joachim Löw.

The issue has cast a light shadow over Germany’s World Cup campaign which saw them win rave reviews for their four-goal thrashings of Australia, England and Argentina.

It is also dividing the team with midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, a teammate of Lahm’s at Bayern Munich, pouring oil on the fire on Sunday by declaring that he considered Ballack to be ”the” captain of the national team.

“For me, it is Ballack who is the captain. Philipp took on the role solely becasue Michael was injured,” he told the daily Die Welt.

Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff ticked Lahm off at the time but another ex-international Lothar Matthaus suggested during the World Cup that Germany is better off without Ballack.

“I don’t mean that in a spiteful way but Ballack was arguably holding up a number of players who’ve now blossomed,” said Matthaus.

Löw, who has yet to sign a new deal with the German football federation after guiding Germany to third place in South Africa, has not commented on the brouhaha.

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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.

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