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FOOTBALL

Footballer defends right not to sing anthem

Germany midfielder Sami Khedira on Tuesday hit back against criticism of players, including himself, who do not sing their national anthem before matches.

Footballer defends right not to sing anthem
Photo: DPA

Khedira also gave his backing to under-fire head coach Joachim Löw, insisting that he had the players’ complete support despite a backlash against his tactics following their 2-1 Euro 2012 semi-final defeat to Italy.

“It (criticism of Löw) is something that has been completed over-exaggerated,” he told a press conference in Frankfurt, where Germany play Argentina in a friendly on Wednesday.

“People tried to find the reasons for our defeat but we won the Euro under-21 championships with eight players with foreign origins and no-one said anything, in fact the team were celebrated as heroes.

“As the coach said yesterday (Monday), it is better to sing but it doesn’t determine whether someone is a good German,” said the 25-year-old Real Madrid player, who has a Tunisian father and German mother.

“Someone is a good German if they speak the language and live by the customs of the country. To reduce this affair down to the national anthem and whether someone is a bad German if they don’t sing is completely unfair.

“I have done this since I was 15 and I am not going to change. It is also part of my pre-match preparation. To sing the anthem or not has nothing to do with the amount of effort we give on the pitch.”

As for Löw, Khedira said the man who led Germany to three consecutive semi-finals at Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, had the complete backing of the players.

“We have 100 percent confidence in him. A coach shows his courage when he takes risks with his decisions and no-one can criticise him for his starting 11,” he added.

“It was us, the players, who were on the pitch and not down to tactics or the composition of the team. The coach did his best and gave us the best conditions in which to prepare.”

Khedira said Germany missed two “fantastic” chances against Italy but they did not take them and were made to pay.

German football officials have also expressed their faith in Löw, who has been in charge since 2006 and is set to lead the Mannschaft for the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, where they play Sweden, Ireland, Austria, Faroe Islands and Kazakhstan.

AFP/bk

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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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