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FOOTBALL

North Korean players struck by lightning, coach claims

North Korea's women's football coach has claimed several players played in the opening 2-0 World Cup loss to the United States on Tuesday suffering from the effects of being struck by lightning at a training camp.

North Korean players struck by lightning, coach claims
Photo: DPA

“Frankly speaking, when we were having training and test matches before we left for this tournament, five of the players were hit by lightning and were in hospital,” said coach Kim Kwang Min, through an interpreter in the post-game press conference.

“We had an accident in Pyongyang before we left for this tournament. Some of the players were left behind. Some were in hospital and came later. Until now they were not fully treated for the match.”

In the most unusual day so far of the tournament, officials also announced Colombia goalkeeper Yineth Varon was kicked out of the competition after being suspended by FIFA’s disciplinary committee for failing a doping test.

The 29-year-old missed Colombia’s opening Group C game, which they lost 1-0 to Sweden in Leverkusen on Tuesday, after failing an out-of-competition test here last Saturday.

Germany will play its second match on Thursday against Nigeria, having beaten Canada on Sunday night to take the lead in Group A.

North Korea’s Kim said the lightning incident occurred on June 8. Kim added that the players most affected were the goalkeeper, four defenders and some midfield players – without naming them.

The coach said doctors had originally decided that they were not in a fit state to play but that they played anyway.

Kim also praised his players’ performance under these circumstances.

“The fact that they played in this match is abnormal. It is the result of their very powerful and strong will.”

The news hit FIFA media officials like a lightning bolt as well.

“It was news to us all,” said FIFA media officer Julie Brown at the U.S. press conference when journalists asked for the Americans’ opinions of the North Korean revelation.

AFP/djw

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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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