Germany says new British quarantine rules apply to Euro footballers

Germany players based in Britain could have difficulty when they join up with the national team for Euro 2020 preparations, while there may also be big problems for the quarter-finals in Munich and if Joachim Loew’s side reach the semi-finals in London.

The German interior ministry has confirmed to dpa that new rules counting Britain as a coronavirus variant region, which mean German residents arriving in Germany from Britain must quarantine for two weeks and non residents are banned altogether, apply to professional footballers too.

“The current regulations for entries from virus variant areas apply to all entries into Germany,” a spokeswoman for the ministry told dpa.

“These rules also apply to professional football.”

On the current European Championship schedule, which UEFA has already altered after Bilbao and Dublin dropped out over coronavirus worries, one team from the last-16 clash in London is meant to play its quarter-final in Munich.

Unless UEFA negotiates an exception or Germany relaxes the rules, this game would seemingly not be able to take place as planned. Non-German residents are currently not allowed in at all if coming from Britain.

There may be other major knock-on effects for teams playing in London and Glasgow who may end up playing in Munich.

UEFA said it was looking into the matter. “It is a situation that is changing all the time,” a spokesperson said.

The German government classified Britain as a virus variant area from Sunday because of a variant, first discovered in India, is spreading there.

The two-week quarantine obligation which applies to German residents entering Germany from Britain cannot be shortened even after negative tests, full vaccinations or a Covid-19 recovery.

Six Germany players in the European Championship squad play for English clubs: Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno, Manchester City’s Ilkay Guendogan, Chelsea trio Antonio Ruediger, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, and Leeds United’s Robin Koch.

The Chelsea and City players are in Portugal for this Saturday’s Champions League final.

From Friday, the Germany team is holding a training camp in Seefeld, Austria, until June 6. The whereabouts of Koch and Leno are unclear.

“We are aware of the complexity of the issue and the requirements. We are currently working on solutions,” national team spokesman Jens Grittner told dpa.

Austria is also banning flights from Britain starting from June and has also classified Britain as a virus variant area.

London’s Wembley Stadium is hosting the semi-finals and finals of the Euros, which run from June 11 to July 11.

Again, unless UEFA negotiates a change or the German government relaxes the rules, it would appear Germany players would have to quarantine for two weeks on their return to Germany should they play in the latter stages in London.

The current German entry regulations do provide exceptions for travellers from risk areas, including participants in “international sporting events”. But these do not apply to virus-variant areas, as Britain is currently listed.

“Anyone who has been in a virus-variant area at the time of entry at any time in the 10 days prior to entry must fall within the narrow exemptions to the travel ban (German citizens or residents)…, present a completed digital entry declaration, present a negative coronavirus test and comply with a strict 14-day quarantine,” the ministry spokesperson explained.

The rule may have knock-on effects for England players Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham, who play at Borussia Dortmund.

The idea of playing the Euros across the continent was dreamt up long before the coronavirus pandemic. The tournament had to be delayed by a year because of the health crisis but UEFA stuck to the multi-country format despite expected problems.

Britain’s vaccine success had appeared to work in UEFA’s favour when it comes to the Wembley semis and final, with the British government committing to a significant number of fans.

But new Covid-19 cases have been ticking up recently in Britain due to the variant first seen in India, prompting Germany to impose the new rules at the weekend.

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