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FOOTBALL

Lahm says gay footballers better off in the closet

Germany football captain and Bayern Munich star Philipp Lahm has advised gay professional footballers against outing themselves, in an interview with German celebrity magazine Bunte.

Lahm says gay footballers better off in the closet
Photo: DPA

“For someone who does, it would be very difficult,” the 27-year-old defender said.

“An openly gay footballer would be exposed to abusive comments.”

But Lahm insists he would feel comfortable playing alongside an openly gay teammate. “I have no problems with homosexuals whatsoever,” he insisted.

Lahm’s comments are likely to land him in hot water with the German Football Federation (DFB) whose president Theo Zwanziger has called for gay footballers to come out and promised the federation’s help.

“I would find it brave and would welcome it if a football player would come out,” Zwanziger said in March.

“He would have the support of the DFB and from me.”

Last November, Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez gave an interview – also to Bunte – where he urged gay footballers to come out of the closet.

“They would play as if they had been liberated. Being gay should no longer be a taboo topic,” said Gomez, the German league’s top-scorer last season.

He added that there were plenty of role models in German society to inspire gay players to come out including Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit.

And Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who plays for Champions League semi-finalists Schalke 04, has also said homosexual footballers should feel free to go public.

AFP/hc

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MUNICH

Four injured as WWII bomb explodes near Munich train station

Four people were injured, one of them seriously, when a World War II bomb exploded at a building site near Munich's main train station on Wednesday, emergency services said.

Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich.
Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Privat

Construction workers had been drilling into the ground when the bomb exploded, a spokesman for the fire department said in a statement.

The blast was heard several kilometres away and scattered debris hundreds of metres, according to local media reports.

Images showed a plume of smoke rising directly next to the train tracks.

Bavaria interior minister Joachim Herrmann told Bild that the whole area was being searched.

Deutsche Bahn suspended its services on the affected lines in the afternoon.

Although trains started up again from 3pm, the rail operator said there would still be delays and cancellations to long-distance and local travel in the Munich area until evening. 

According to the fire service, the explosion happened near a bridge that must be passed by all trains travelling to or from the station.

The exact cause of the explosion is unclear, police said. So far, there are no indications of a criminal act.

WWII bombs are common in Germany

Some 75 years after the war, Germany remains littered with unexploded ordnance, often uncovered during construction work.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

However, most bombs are defused by experts before they explode.

Last year, seven World War II bombs were found on the future location of Tesla’s first European factory, just outside Berlin.

Sizeable bombs were also defused in Cologne and Dortmund last year.

In 2017, the discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in Frankfurt prompted the evacuation of 65,000 people — the largest such operation since the end of the war in Europe in 1945.

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