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FOOTBALL

Leverkusen fans frantic for Barca match tickets

Desperate football fans swamped Bayer Leverkusen’s phone lines with 200,000 calls on Tuesday in a frantic attempt to get tickets to the club’s Champions League match against FC Barcelona in February.

Leverkusen fans frantic for Barca match tickets
Photo: DPA

The calls were all made to the team’s call centre in the 15 minutes after it opened at 10 a.m., club spokesman Meinolf Sprink told The Local, although he said only a fraction of that number got through.

A contingent of 10,000 tickets were available to the 27,000 Bayer Leverkusen’s supporter club members – who rang the call centre’s phones red hot in frantic attempts to get one.

“Of course we expected interest, but these are just bombastic numbers, completely shocking,” Sprink told The Local.

“But what else are you going expect, when Lionel Messi comes to tiny Leverkusen?”

Other tickets for the first leg of the team’s playoff against FC Barcelona are being distributed through FC Barcelona and UEFA, which runs the Champions League.

The team’s 30,000-seat BayArena will be sold out and very noisy for the match on February 14, Sprink said.

The match will bring some of football’s brightest stars to Leverkusen, a city of 160,000 between Cologne and Düsseldorf in North Rhine Westphalia.

Messi, who was this week crowned FIFA’s World Footballer of the Year for a third successive time, will be joined by famous Spaniards David Villa and Carles Puyol in playing for Barcelona.

Leverkusen will travel to Spain for the return match on March 7. Though Leverkusen has never won the Champions League, the team did make it to the final stage in 2002.

Moises Mendoza

[email protected]

twitter.com/moisesdmendoza

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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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