Sticky start for women’s World Cup album

Sport sticker album company Panini says it has been beset with a number of embarrassing teething problems with its first-ever edition for the women's World Cup, but insists it is a success.

Sticky start for women's World Cup album
Photo: DPA

The task of assembling photos and data on the 16 teams in the competition, hosted by Germany and held between June 26 and July 17, proved tougher than expected, Panini Germany spokeswoman Christine Fröhler said.

Mexico’s football federation, for example, mistakenly sent Panini pictures of its men’s team, while the album has the same photo for two North Korean players, Jon Myong Hwa and Kim Kyong Hwa, she said.

But the company, headquartered in Italy, said that its gamble on the event had paid off, having already sold 4.5 million packets of stickers to wholesalers. It is even printing one million more to meet strong demand.

“It is a great success,” Fröhler said.

Unlike for men’s competitions, the 40-page official FIFA album, on sale only in Germany for €2 ($2.83), with a pack of five stickers costing €0.60, has no data on how much the players weigh.

Germany is hoping the event will be as successful as the men’s competition in 2006, credited with boosting the country’s image abroad and helping Germans get over a postwar unease about overt displays of national pride.

Some 670,000 tickets or around 75 percent of those on offer have been sold so far, the head of the organisers’ committee, former Germany star Steffi Jones, said in Frankfurt on Thursday.

“I am very happy. The facts show that we are very well prepared,” Jones said. “We are on track to meet our target of selling 80 percent.”

Around 10 percent of the tickets were sold in 50 other countries including Tanzania, Bolivia, Fiji and Lebanon, she said.

The opening match of 32 takes place on June 26 in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium as hosts Germany, hoping for their third successive title, take on Canada.

Some 153,000 tickets have been sold for the July 17 final in Frankfurt.


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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.