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EURO 2016

FOOTBALL

How the German national team reach their Zen state

In the macho world of international football, Germany have taken a more spiritual approach by employing a yoga teacher at Euro 2016, whose former pupils include Madonna and Sting.

How the German national team reach their Zen state
Toni Kroos (L) and Joshua Kimmich during training. Photo: DPA

“To my knowledge, I was the only yoga teacher working with a national team at the World Cup in Brazil,” Munich-based yoga teacher Patrick Broome told AFP.

Broome is part of Germany's backroom staff for major tournaments and puts die Mannschaft's stars through exercises to relax them physically and mentally.

Former Manchester United star Ryan Giggs, who was still playing at 40, says yoga helped extend his career.

Germany head coach Joachim Löw is also a fan of the ancient Indian discipline.

Now the likes of Germany's Thomas Müller, Lukas Podolski and Mats Hummels are no strangers to yoga postures like 'lotus', 'warrior and 'cobra'.

“He's been part of the team since [the 2014 World Cup in] Brazil and he offers courses every day,” said veteran Germany forward Podolski at their Euro 2016 base in Evian.

“We can decide for ourselves to take advantage or not. It's not on the training plan that we have to go, but he does a good job.”

Three yoga refuseniks

Broome has accompanied Germany to World Cups and European championships over the last decade, but officially became part of the coaching staff only two years ago.

He offers sessions to help the footballers “improve flexibility, concentration and performance on the field” which in turn helps keep them free of injury.

Broome holds daily sessions of up to 45 minutes to keep the players supple and help recover after games. Only three of the squad regularly decline to take part.

Patrick Broome: DPA

“Good recovery after a game is essential for the players to maintain their level of performance,” says Broome, who is in his 40s and has been practising yoga for twenty years.

It was Löw's predecessor, California-based Jurgen Klinsmann, the coach from 2004 until the 2006 World Cup, who first invited Broome into the German camp.

Klinsmann saw the benefits of yoga while living on the west coast of the USA.

Löw then took it a step further by adding Broome, who has worked with pop icons Madonna and Sting in New York, to his backroom staff for Euro 2008.

Broome, who has two yoga studios in Munich, says Löw showed “courage” to add yoga sessions to Germany's training sessions ten years ago.

“At the time, the German press made fun of the players when they were training with rubber bands, to increase their muscle strength, and yoga with 'all this nonsense',” said Broome with a smile.

At the players request, Broome accompanied Germany to the Euro 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine.

Through breathing techniques and holding postures, Germany's stars “can let off steam quickly” after a match, said Broome.

“It also allows them to stretch and to experience a different physical experience,” added Broome.

Broome, who is now a leading figure on Germany's yoga scene, puts the players through a “stripped-down version” of yoga, shorn of incense sticks or other far eastern paraphernalia.

“With the players, I am much less into the spiritual side of the practise,” he admits.

Mario Götze, whose goal won the 2014 World Cup final, is a firm yoga convert and Broome says the spiritual side of yoga helps balance the day-to-day pressures on the players.

In our society of “ever faster, ever more efficient,” yoga is also a powerful remedy for stress management, he added.

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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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