International game trips despite Corona: Werder boss Baumann worries | NDR.de – Sport

Status: 03/21/2021 5:35 p.m.

In the Bundesliga, anxious days begin on Monday when the professionals travel across Europe with their national teams. During the international match window last November, there were numerous corona infections among players. In the NDR interview, Werder Bremen’s managing director Frank Baumann speaks about his fear of positive cases, the players’ point of view and the supposed special role of football.

Mr Baumann, the pandemic has us firmly under control, the third wave of corona is rolling, but football is embarking on a long journey because of the World Cup qualifiers. Absolutely necessary or absurd?

Frank Baumann: The international trips in pandemic times are anything but good from a club’s point of view. We would of course much prefer to keep our players here in order to minimize the risk of infection.

Are you worried about your players?

Baumann: To a certain extent, absolutely. Players, coaching teams and the entire staff come together from all over the world. Depending on the national team, that’s 50 to 60 people who, although they have all been tested, carry a certain risk of infection. We at Werder Bremen try – especially when the players come back – to exercise caution so that we do not spread an infection to us.

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How do the players deal with it? Do you want to play at all costs, or are there doubts too?

Baumann: The players see it very differently. Of course, they notice that the numbers are rising and the incidence values ​​are rising. But they have a World Cup qualification ahead of them and are very happy to compete for their country. One or the other can play the European championship in the summer. It’s about regular and executive positions. The players want to show themselves again after being unable to travel to their national teams last fall.

There are voices that officials – including those of UEFA, for example – have to protect the professionals. What is your position on that?

Baumann: I think we showed at Werder Bremen and in the Bundesliga that we can protect our players. Of course, there is a greater risk with the national team secondments, as the internationals in October and November showed when a few cases arose. Of course, UEFA is doing everything it can to protect the players. There, too, there are very clear hygiene concepts that are being implemented. That’s why I don’t think the associations or UEFA are carelessly jeopardizing the health of the players and ultimately the population as well.

Further information

A helper cleans and disinfects the windows at the VfL Wolfsburg bench.  © picture alliance / dpa |  Swen porter

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The clubs must turn off the professionals unless they have to travel to a “virus variant area” and quarantine on their return. They would prefer to keep the Werder professionals in Bremen at the moment. Do UEFA clubs have to bow down or can’t they say, “No, you can’t do that now”?

Baumann: That would have to be tested (laughs). It’s sometimes very strange. We now have the situation that over the weekend the assessment of the Virus variants area has changed. Great Britain, for example, is no longer one of them. Now we have to turn off the players who are traveling there and we are not happy about that. But I don’t think a complete boycott is currently feasible because there would be appropriate sanctions and of course the players also have a certain interest in traveling to their national teams.

The travel logistics sounds crazy. Players are sometimes flown in in small groups in private jets in order to minimize the risk of infection. Is that still in relation to what it is about?

Baumann: I don’t know if many players rent private jets. Basically, it is common for most national teams to travel in a charter plane anyway. I don’t think that before the pandemic you saw Neymar or Ronaldo in a scheduled flight when they were on their way to the next international match. But of course you have to find a balance between protecting the players and the ratio of resources that are used.

Can you understand the reflex of people who think: “Football makes the world the way it pleases”?

Baumann: Nobody denies that many industries have suffered extremely from the pandemic. But I hate the fact that football is always so negative. International matches or championships are currently taking place in all sports. The ski circus travels from one country to another. We have one now I had European Athletics Championships in Poland, where there were at least as many infected athletes and officials after their return as in the entire Bundesliga season. Of course we have to be very, very critical of this situation. But in football we have shown in the past twelve months that we handle it very responsibly. With its hygiene concepts, football can be a role model for others, so that at some point we will have normality again.

Further information

Philipp Ochs (left) and Dominik Kaiser from Hannover 96 with mouth and nose protection © IMAGO / Joachim Sielski

The DFL Presidium is considering stipulating further tests. Most recently, second division clubs Hannover 96 and Holstein Kiel had to go into team quarantine.
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So far, there have been six corona-related postponements in the second division, none in the first division. You have the feeling that people are looking more closely there. Not just individual players, but entire teams are quarantined. Is there a Bundesliga bonus?

Baumann: It is not the DFL or the clubs that decide whether a team quarantine is scheduled, but the respective local health authorities. And you have to look at each case individually. Our cup game against Regensburg was postponed because a higher number of infections occurred at very short notice. That’s why it was absolutely the right decision to quarantine the entire Regensburg team for 14 days. Contact tracking is an important criterion for the health authorities here. We had a case with Felix Agu where it was clearly understood that he was infected in private and that the infection was not passed on. Then the health department in Bremen decided that Felix had to be in quarantine for two weeks and the other team members could train again after a day or two.

At Hansa Rostock there has now been something that has not been seen for a long time: fans in the stadium.

Baumann: It is important such To have pilot projects like in Rostock, where it’s not just about football, but also about other industries. To give people a perspective that we can enjoy life again.

Do you have a certain longing to be able to talk about football again?

Baumann: I became a footballer because I have this passion for the sport. This also includes the emotions that are brought in from outside. There is really a lot missing. We can now manage it temporarily without spectators, but I really long for the fans to return to the stadiums. Despite all the criticism of football, I believe that very, very many people feel the same way.

The interview was conducted by Ben Wozny

Further information

Spectators at the game Hansa Rostock against Halle.  © picture alliance / dpa / dpa-Zentralbild pool Photo: Bernd Wüstneck

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A corner flag with the Werder Bremen club crest © imago images / Claus Bergmann

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Sports club | 03/21/2021 | 10:50 pm


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