A senior German politician has called for making it compulsory for all professional footballers in Germany to be vaccinated, as the country is struggling to contain a fierce fourth wave of Covid-19. “I am in favor of compulsory vaccination for certain professional groups – that’s what we need,” Bavarian leader Markus Soeder told Bild TV. “I think it would be a good sign if we also discuss something like this for the football sector – as a sign of unity between fans and players,” he said.
Only fully vaccinated fans are allowed in soccer stadiums in Bavaria, while players only need to show a negative test result, Soeder said.
The weekly recorded incidence of the virus in Germany reached a new high on Tuesday, one day after it exceeded 300 out of every 100,000 people, the first time it has crossed the threshold since the start of the pandemic.
The worrying figures are fueled in part by sluggish vaccination figures.
About 90 percent of soccer players in Germany’s top two leagues are fully vaccinated – a much higher figure than the national average of 67.6.
But last month, German midfielder Joshua Kimmich sparked debate over whether it should be mandatory for footballers to be vaccinated by admitting he had withdrawn for “personal concerns”.
The Bayern Munich star was one of five players placed in quarantine last week while on international service with Germany after club teammate Niklas Suele – who has been fully vaccinated – tested positive for the virus.
On Tuesday, Kimmich, as well as Bayern team-mates Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting all quarantined and took part in training.
Only Suele, who has mild symptoms, remains in home quarantine and will miss the Bavarian giant’s league match on Friday in Augsburg.
Bayern chief executive Oliver Kahn has made clear the club’s position by insisting that “our players should be vaccinated”.
Only a handful of Bayern stars have chosen not to be vaccinated and Kahn says those involved “think very, very hard now” because the consequences of their skepticism are “not insignificant”.
However, Cologne coach Steffen Baumgart has warned against compulsory vaccinations in professional German football.
“This is the wrong approach. Why should there be compulsory vaccinations for footballers and not for caregivers who have daily contact with people?” Baumgart told reporters Tuesday.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated stream.)