Football is taking full risk in the corona pandemic – it can go wrong

DFB-Elf
Football is taking full risk in the corona pandemic – it can go wrong

DFB-Elf in the game against Ukraine

© Robert Michael / DPA

Despite the five cases of corona infection in the Ukrainian team, the game against the DFB-Elf took place in Leipzig. That was a high risk, also because the once highly praised hygiene concept is apparently more than full of holes.

The statements of the players and national coach Joachim Löw almost sounded a little apologetic. The DFB-Elf had just beaten the Ukraine 3-1 in the Leipzig Central Stadium, so the reporters’ questions were not only about sporting success, but above all about the fact that the game had actually taken place. “Basically, I can understand people’s worries and thoughts,” said Löw, for example, but he was “actually the wrong person to talk to.” Goalscorer Leroy Sané was pensive: “When you hear something like this, you think of the family and the fact that you can be infected. In the end, the most important thing is that everyone stays healthy”.

Of course, it was about the corona pandemic and the question of whether the game should have taken place at all. Four Ukrainian players and a member of the functional team had tested positive for the corona virus before the game in the Nations League. For a long time it was not clear whether the Leipzig health department would even allow the game. The latest test results from the team and support staff were not available until Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. It was the second test within 48 hours – and without a positive result. The Uefa gave the green light, the DFB also expressed no concerns. DFB team doctor Tom Meyer assured that the game situation on the lawn was not a particular risk. A judgment that Löw and his players relied on: “Uefa and the health department certainly know what they are doing,” said Sané.

Control by health authorities has its limits

Nevertheless, it was often criticized that the game was kicked off at all. Two days later, the criticism was reinforced by the fact that two other Ukrainian players who had been on the pitch on Saturday tested positive. If German players were infected in Leipzig, it would be a disaster – and DFB doctor Meyer’s assessment would be invalid. The example of Leipzig already shows that the hygiene concept is more than full of holes, also because the permanent tests apparently do not provide any certainty.

Another weak point of the hygiene concept is that the controls by the health authorities have reached their limits. In Leipzig, the authorities approved the game because the Ukrainians had testified that the infected players had complied with all hygiene requirements in the past few days, i.e. had no closer contact with other players and team members. It cannot be verified whether this is the truth. What happened in the team hotel is simply a “black box”. Regardless of this, the following applies: As long as a team can nominate 13 players, play continues. This is what the Uefa concept envisages.

No uniform international line

Another problem that was not only revealed in Leipzig is that there is no uniform international line. For example, the Norwegian authorities prohibited their national team from leaving for Romania because a player had tested positive and sent them completely into quarantine. At the end of October, the English women’s national team canceled a game against the German women because an employee of the staff had tested positive. Now in Leipzig, more generous standards were applied.

And so the trip of the German national team to Seville is provided with a lot of question marks. In the high-risk area, the Löw troop will play against Spain on Tuesday evening for group victory in the Nations League. One can only hope that no cases of infection will occur.

Source: DPA, “Does”

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