Politicians criticise German football teams for travelling abroad

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Berlin, Feb. 8, 2021 German professional football clubs travelling across Europe are drawing growing criticism from politicians because many others are not allowed to travel in connection with coronavirus restrictions.

Lars Klingbeil, secretary general of the Social Democrats (SPD), said on Monday that teams should not be travelling in the current situation.

“It will be a stronger signal if this game was postponed or cancelled. It can be dispensed with at this time. The competition must not come first,” he said.

RB Leipzig’s UEFA Champions League home game next week against Liverpool was moved to Budapest.

This was because foreigners without residence in Germany are not allowed in from countries where virus variants have been reported.

Those include Britain, and Borussia Moenchengladbach’s game against Manchester City will also be affected if the government measure is extended beyond Feb. 17.

Hoffenheim meanwhile may not be able to play Molde in Norway because the Scandinavian country’s government effectively only allows its citizens and residents in from any part of the world.

In addition, champions Bayern Munich are in Qatar to play at the FIFA Club World Cup.

Another SPD politician, Karl Lauterbach, said on Sunday: “All of us are supposed not to travel … and I don’t understand why we should be making an exception for a professional circus.”

The Interior Ministry, which is responsible for sports, says that no exceptions are made for teams because standard quarantine rules apply for them on return to Germany.

Susanne Eisenmann, the sports minister of the state of Baden Wuerttemberg, called for a European solution.

“A regulation for European sports competitions such as the Champions League or Europa League in football, handball, basketball, volleyball and other sports must logically be made at a European level,” Eisemnann told dpa on Monday.

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