German footballers ‘made mistake’ by liking Turkish salute post

German FA director Oliver Bierhoff on Monday defended Germany national team players İlkay Gündoğan and Emre Can, but admitted they "made a mistake" by liking a post of Turkish footballers performing a military salute.

German footballers 'made mistake' by liking Turkish salute post
German footballer Ilkay Gündogan celebrating a goal on Sunday in Tallinn, Estonia. Photo: DPA

Gündoğan and Can, who both have Turkish roots, became embroiled in a social media storm Sunday after clicking 'Like' on an Instagram picture of Turkey players saluting to celebrate a goal in Friday's 1-0 win over Albania.

Cenk Tosun, the goalscorer, posted the picture and wrote: “For our nation and especially for those who risk their lives for our country”.

His post was seen as supportive of Turkey's military offensive in Syria, but the Germany pair quickly removed their 'Likes' and issued apologies.

Over a year ago, Gündoğan found himself at the centre of a similar scandal on the eve of the 2018 World Cup for posing for pictures with teammate Mesut Özil alongside Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

READ ALSO: Five key dates in the Mesut Özil scandal

'It was a mistake'

Bierhoff, director of the national team, told that he and head coach Joachim Löw have spoken to the pair, who “know it was a mistake”.

“They are role models, thousands look up to them and follow them on their social media channels,” he added.

“They need to be aware of the great responsibility and impact that each of their statements and actions can have.

“They both came out and faced the media after the game.

“They assured us that they didn't want to make a political statement.

“We trust their explanations that they had no political intentions.”

The German Football Association (DFB) posted a picture on Monday of the senior squad looking unified on their social media channels with the text, “against all forms of violence and discrimination.”

Bierhoff said the German squad wanted to support the pair, who he says were
“down” because of the Instagram incident, following Sunday's 3-0 win over
Estonia in a Euro 2020 qualifier in Tallinn.

Gündoğan scored two second-half goals, but Can was sent off after 14 minutes — the fastest ever dismissal of a Germany player.

“Anyone who knows the players knows they are both against terror and war,” said Löw after the match.

“They both made it very clear it was not a political statement.”

'Against all forms of war'

Can regretted liking the post, insisting he does not support armed conflict.

“I am absolutely a pacifist and against all forms of war,” he said.

He says he removed his 'Like' of Tosun's post when he realised it was open
to misinterpretation.

“I can only stress again that there was no political intention behind it. I
wanted to congratulate a friend (Tosun) for the goal and the victory,” he said.

However, Germany's top-selling daily Bild was unimpressed with Gündoğan's

“Some people never learn — or always too late! Just a click-error? Then he should keep his fingers away from the internet,” wrote Bild.

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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.