Putin tried to stop Neuer’s move to Bayern

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin tried to block Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer's switch from Schalke 04 to Bavarian giants Bayern Munich, according to Royal Blues chairman Clemens Tönnies.

Putin tried to stop Neuer's move to Bayern
Photo: DPA

Neuer, 25, joined Bayern from arch-rivals Schalke in July for a reported fee of €22 million ($30.6m).

The deal was agreed by the two clubs in April, but Putin, who is heavily linked to Schalke’s main sponsor, Russian gas company Gazprom, approached Schalke about doing everything possible to make Neuer stay.

“He (Putin) was absolutely besotted with Manuel and is a huge fan of his,” Tönnies told German magazine Sport-Bild.

“He asked me to do everything we could to keep Manuel.”

Neuer was under contract with Schalke until June 2012, but held a news conference in April to say he would not be extending his stay in Gelsenkirchen, leaving Schalke powerless to prevent him leaving.

Had the Royal Blues not sold him to Bayern last summer, they would have risked losing Germany’s first-choice goalkeeper on a free transfer when his contract expired and Neuer had made it clear he wanted to leave.

“For Manuel, it was no longer a question of money – we had to accept that,” said Tönnies. “It shows what an impeccable character he has. He wanted to change.”

Neuer endured a chorus of whistles, jeers and obscene gestures from furious Schalke fans in September on his return to Gelsenkirchen with Bayern, who won 2-0.

Former top referee Markus Merk, who is now a pundit, was also the victim of abuse from fans at the stadium recently, when he was pelted with cigarette lighters and sprayed with beer.

Merk has been unpopular with Schalke fans since 2001, when Bayern won the league title with a goal from a free-kick he awarded in injury time against Hamburg that snatched the title from Schalke on the last day of the season.

But the behaviour of Schalke’s fans concerns Tönnies.

“We must take care that the good reputation of the Schalke fans will not be lost,” he said.


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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.