Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Manuel Akanji were fined an unspecified amount by the German Football League (DFL) yesterday for failing to wear face masks during a visit from a hair dresser. The DFL said both players had broken the health guidelines that have governed Bundesliga clubs and players since the league restarted amid the Covid-19 pandemic on May 16. Six Dortmund players, including England international Sancho and Akanji, got their hair cut by the hairdresser who then asked some of them to take pictures with him.
“It is clear that pro players also need to get their hair cut. But that has to happen in line with the medical and hygiene concept,” the DFL said in a statement. “The fines are not against the club which is not seen as having a responsibility in this case.”
Sancho, 20, responded describing the decision as an “absolute joke”. Bundesliga matches are played without fans and teams must adhere to strict health guidelines that regulate the process and operation of training sessions and games.
The league, with five rounds of matches left in the season, plans to finish by the end of the month. Sancho also hit the headlines last weekend when after scoring he revealed an undershirt with the message “Justice for George Floyd” — an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis after a white US police officer knelt on his neck.
Sancho escaped any sanction after the German Football Association said players were free to show their support for protests over Floyd’s death.
Bundesliga coaches call for easing of
Bundesliga coaches have called for some easing of the league’s strict hygiene regulations, citing the general improvement of the coronavirus situation in the country. Coaches and substitutes have to follow social-distancing guidelines and wear masks while on the bench and players are not allowed to hug each other during goal celebrations.
Germany has been easing its lockdown restrictions in the weeks since the Bundesliga restarted in mid-May. “It’s become difficult to understand why people can again have their cappuccino in a cafe without wearing a mask, while the substitutes and us directors in the stands are forced to keep our distance while outdoors and wearing a mask,” said Bayer Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller.
There has not been a positive case for Covid-19 in the Bundesliga since the resumption, but teams are still subject to stringent rules regarding social distancing in hotels and in stadiums. “It’s great that we can play again,” said Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz.
“The DFL (German league) has done things very well. But the protocols were worked out in March, and now it is June. The best thing would be to have the right to celebrate a goal all together again.”
Paderborn coach Steffen Baumgart thinks the rules should be loosened for the media. “We have cameramen who are alone and separated by a radius of 30 metres while wearing a mask,” he said. “We have reporters, half of whose questions we don’t understand because they’re wearing a mask while we keep a distance of three metres.”
Germany has reported over 8,500 coronavirus-related deaths, although that figure is far lower than other large western European nations like the UK, France, Spain and Italy.
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