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FOOTBALL

Ballack to remain Germany team captain

Joachim Löw, coach of Germany's national football team, confirmed Wednesday that veteran midfielder Michael Ballack will remain his first-choice captain despite being left out of their opening Euro 2012 qualifying games.

Ballack to remain Germany team captain
Photo: DPA

Ballack, 33, has been dropped for the first two games against Belgium in Brussels on Friday and Azerbaijan at home four days later as he continues his recovery from the ankle injury that kept him out of the World Cup.

“In the last few days, I have had an open and honest discussion with Michael Ballack, which lasted two hours, and I have decided that he will remain captain,” said Löw in a press conference in Frankfurt.

With Germany now bidding for a place at Euro 2012, to be held in the Ukraine and Poland, Philipp Lahm will be the temporary national captain until Ballack returns from injury.

In Ballack’s absence, Bayern Munich defender Lahm, 26, captained Germany to third in South Africa at the World Cup, sweeping aside England 4-1 and Argentina 4-0 before losing to eventual winners Spain in the semi-finals.

Ballack is expected to return for Euro 2012 qualifiers against Turkey and Kazakhstan in October, but needs to prove his fitness with Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga.

“He has had a long injury break, but I feel he still as plenty to offer this team,” Löw said. “When he is not available, Philipp Lahm, who did very well at the World Cup, will be captain with Bastian Schweinsteiger as his deputy.”

Ballack, who is now back in Germany playing for Leverkusen after his contract at Chelsea expired at the end of last season, has something of a history of clashing with other players, as well as with Löw.

Things have not got off to a flying start for Ballack’s return to the Bundesliga as Leverkusen were beaten 6-3 by Mönchengladbach on Sunday – and Ballack was booed off when he was replaced in the second-half.

Meanwhile, Löw also confirmed Schalke 04 goalkeeper Manuel Neuer will remain between the posts for the national side with Rene Adler and Tim Wiese battling to be the reserve goalkeeper.

“Manuel will remain in goal, but we are in a luxury position with three goalkeepers who all have international experience and in this area, we are very strong,” said Löw.

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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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