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FOOTBALL

Football head: Gay players welcome

The head of the German Football Association has called on gay football stars to come out of the closet and openly declare their homosexuality.

Football head: Gay players welcome
Photo: DPA

Players should have the “courage to declare themselves,” Theo Zwanziger said Tuesday during a public discussion on sexuality in elite sports at the Sportschule Hennef near Cologne. He said the situation for gay players in football was much better than it had been.

The comments come amid increasing criticism of star footballer Philipp Lahm over remarks he made earlier this week implying that Germany is not ready for gay athletes.

“Football is like earlier gladiatorial combat. Sure, politicians can now come out as homosexuals. But they don’t have to play in front of 60,000 spectators week after week,” Lahm said, according to the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung.

“I don’t think society is yet far enough to accept gay footballers for granted, as it is now possible in other areas.”

Lahm’s words echo statements he made in his book released last year and in earlier interviews with the media. Although he is widely viewed as one of the most tolerant athletes in German sports, he has advised footballers to stay in the closet to protect themselves.

But Zwanziger joins other prominent sporting figures who have said that gays would be accepted in sports.

National footballer Mario Gomez told Bunte magazine in 2010 that if they outed themselves, gay athletes “would then play as though they’ve been unshackled.”

On Tuesday Zwanziger said good players would be respected no matter their national origin or sexual orientation.

“I think fans in the stadium orient themselves toward performance,” Zwanziger said.

No gay male football player in Germany’s top league has yet come out of the closet.

The Local/DPA/mdm

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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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