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FOOTBALL

Germans call for action on FIFA bribery claims

The German football federation (DBF) on Saturday expressed dismay after FIFA president Sepp Blatter insisted he did not have the power to punish former supremo Joao Havelange after the latter was accused of taking bribes.

Germans call for action on FIFA bribery claims
Blatter (right) and Havelange (left) in 2009. Photo: DPA

DFB chairman Wolfgang Niersbach said he was “shocked” at Blatter’s comments, adding that the DFB would distance itself from them.

Court documents released in Switzerland revealed that Brazilian Havelange, 96, who was FIFA president for 24 years, before Blatter stepped into the hotseat in 1998, pocketed at least 1.5 million Swiss francs (€1.25 million) and FIFA executive committee member Ricardo Teixeira at least 12.74 million. (€10.6 million).

The bribes, made by International Sport and Leisure (ISL), were detailed in documents made public by Switzerland’s supreme court and published by the BBC on Wednesday.

FIFA’s discredited Swiss-based marketing partner collapsed in 2001 with debts of around $300 million.

Blatter insisted on Thursday he was powerless to sanction his predecessor and added that such payments were not illegal under Swiss law at the time.

“The reaction of the president of FIFA shocked me. If FIFA people, and not the lowest among them, received money and the response is that that this was not illegal at the time then we at the DFB can only distance ourselves,” Niersbach said on the sidelines of a meeting of Bundesliga referees.

Responding to comments from Bundesliga chairman Reinhard Rauball, who wants Blatter to resign, Nirsbach said, “That is a decision for him.”

FIFA published the Swiss court’s report on its website on Wednesday and in a statement world football’s governing body emphasised that while Havelange and Teixeira were identified Blatter was not.

“The decision of the Swiss Federal Court also confirms that only two foreign officials will be named as part of the process and that…..the FIFA president is not involved in the case,” the statement stressed.

The court documents did reveal that FIFA chiefs knew that Havelange and Teixeira had been paid bribes by ISL.

It also disclosed that FIFA had agreed to pay 2.5 million Swiss francs (€2.01 million) in compensation – but only on the condition that criminal proceedings against Havelange and Teixeira were dropped.

Havelange, who remains FIFA’s honorary president, stepped down after a 48-year-spell as a member of the International Olympic Committee last December just days before the start of an ethics hearing into his links with ISL.

He was instrumental in bringing the Olympics to Rio de Janeiro and to South America for the first time when in 2009 the IOC elected the city as the 2016 host.

At the vote in Copenhagen he famously invited IOC members to his 100th birthday party on Copacabana beach in 2016 should they award the Games to Rio.

AFP/hc

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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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