NAfter a corona case was reported in the German national team on Tuesday morning, it only took a few minutes until the social networks showed that football is a fairly reliable indicator of the mood in the country. In this case: for the polarizations in the German vaccination debate. The fact that Niklas Süle, a player who had been vaccinated twice, became infected with the virus, and that is why the unvaccinated Joshua Kimmich and three other professionals (Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala, Kerim Adeyemi) were quarantined by the health department, was grist on the mills of those who refuse or be skeptical of the vaccinations.
And those who, in view of the rising incidence values, are urgently hoping for increasing vaccination rates, see themselves strengthened in their demands for more far-reaching 2G regulations, including compulsory vaccination. When the press conference of the German Football Association on the Corona situation around the national team finally began with a few minutes delay at lunchtime, DFB Director Oliver Bierhoff apologized for the delay, apparently for precisely this reason: “We just had a team meeting, it took a little longer. “
You can be sure: Even among the best football players in the country, the same discussions are being held as everywhere in the country. There is a need for discussion – and possibly a need for action. The DFB had to expel Bayern players Süle, Kimmich, Gnabry and Musiala as well as Adeyemi from the quarter and send them home. Four other players, who also traveled with Süle from Munich to Wolfsburg on Monday, were allowed to stay with the national team.
No information on vaccination status
According to Bierhoff, they now receive “special care”, they did not have to be in quarantine. The players who were allowed to stay must be tested regularly. “You will sit at a table in isolation within the group or drive up to training occasionally,” said Bierhoff. During the course of the day, FC Bayern reported the next corona case with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, meaning that four of the record champions’ players are now in quarantine.
When asked whether the three other players who, in addition to Kimmich, had to leave the DFB’s quarters, were also unvaccinated players, team doctor Tim Meyer referred to the obligation to maintain confidentiality. “Basically, the vaccination is a criterion that the health authorities apply,” said Meyer, but when making the decision, in this case the Munich / Land health authority, “the intensity and duration of the contacts” were also important. This is a decision that includes “several aspects”.
Whether the status “double vaccinated” excluded a quarantine in this case, Meyer, who had played a decisive role in the pioneering hygiene concept of German football in the previous year, could not say when asked. He could not “make a general assessment”, according to Meyer, even if, according to the fundamental recommendation of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), close contact persons without symptoms are excluded from the quarantine if they are double vaccinated.
“In this pandemic, I saw very different interpretations of very different situations.” The current Munich ordinance states that the responsible health department “can make a different decision in individual cases and order a quarantine”. There is also uncertainty about the duration of the quarantine of the five players. This is mainly due to whether the players remain symptom-free and the results of the subsequent tests.
Consequences not yet foreseeable
The direct consequences of the Corona case for the national team are quickly told. On Tuesday national coach Hansi Flick nominated next to Kevin Volland from AS Monaco also the two Wolfsburg Ridle Baku and Maximilian Arnold for the international match this Thursday for the local World Cup qualifier against Liechtenstein. The final group game will take place in Armenia three days later. On Monday, Jonathan Tah was nominated for the games, but that was due to an injury to Nico Schlotterbeck. On Tuesday morning, the training session in the stadium was canceled due to the given reason and moved to the afternoon.
The medium-term consequences for German professional football, however, are not yet foreseeable in view of the increasing number of cases. In the discussion about spectators, who sometimes have to meet the 2G regulation to visit the stadium, while unvaccinated professionals are allowed to play on the pitch, Meyer referred to the legally relevant distinction between health protection and occupational safety in these cases. But it also became clear on that day that the DFB is very much in a position to apply stricter standards for occupational safety in certain cases and to implement these regulations in a controlled manner.
At all press conferences before the international match in Wolfsburg, the association requires all participants to comply with the 2G rule. This was the DFB rule before the international match against Romania in Hamburg last October. With a view to the players, Bierhoff pointed out that the national team is within the framework that is prescribed by law. The associations, both DFB and DFL, see no legal basis for the introduction of a nationwide introduction of the 2G regulation for players without a corresponding political requirement. Around 90 percent of the players in German professional football are said to be vaccinated. For comparison: According to the English Premier League, only around 68 percent of the professionals there were vaccinated three weeks ago.