Cologne player quits over fans’ threats

Defender Kevin Pezzoni has quit second division football club FC Cologne after he was attacked and threatened by angry fans.

Cologne player quits over fans' threats
Pezzoni's fears went beyond football. Photo: DPA

Club coach Holger Stanislawski said the club had agreed to the 23-year-old’s request to terminate his contract on Friday after he was confronted outside his flat.

“A group of people ambushed him outside his private residence this week, roughed him up and really threatened him,” said Cologne coach Stanislawski. “That is just not acceptable and can’t ever be so.”

“They left a note on his car and made it clear they wanted to really hurt him. These people have crossed the line.”

Stanislawski said the player had felt unable to play any more for the club, being terrified of making a bad pass for reasons that went beyond football.

Fans of the club who felt Pezzoni was not good enough to play for it had already started a Facebook group “Kevin Pezzoni must go.” The aim, said the founders, was to gather 50,000 signatures. “Out with the rat,” said one comment.

The group was started after a poor performance for Pezzoni last weekend at Erzgebirge Aue, where Cologne lost 2-0 and the player was substituted after 34 minutes

Pezzoni joined Cologne in 2008 from English side Blackburn Rovers, and had good reason to think fans might follow up their threat. In February, during the city’s carnival celebrations, one disgruntled fan broke the player’s nose.

League president Reinhard Rauball condemned the fans’ behaviour in newspaper Welt am Sonntag. “This is not acceptable under any circumstances. It must be clear to everyone that, when things reach a certain level, this cannot be tolerated,” he said.

The club, which was relegated from the top flight of German football in the summer, said at the time that it stood by the player. But efforts to mediate between Pezzoni and the angry supporters have been unsuccessful.

Pezzoni wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday that he was “delighted” by the understanding that had greeted his decision. The player said he was looking forward to new sporting challenges.

Cologne lost 1-0 at home to Energie Cottbus on Friday, their third defeat in four games. Pezzoni did not play in that match.

AFP/The Local/rc

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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.