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BERLIN (AP) — The German soccer league (DFL) says more than 90% of players, coaches and staff from the 36 clubs in the Bundesliga and second division have received vaccines against the coronavirus.
The DFL said Tuesday that the figure is based on voluntary information provided by the clubs and that it does not have specific information on individuals, whether they have received one or two doses or which manufacturer’s vaccine they received.
The governing body for Germany’s top two soccer leagues said it recommends vaccination against the coronavirus for all involved in match operations.
“The DFL has already made this attitude clear many times and it has also started campaigns to draw attention to the importance of vaccinations in the fight against the coronavirus,” the DFL said.
A debate is taking place in Germany after Bayern Munich and Germany defender Joshua Kimmich expressed his reluctance to get vaccinated over concerns of potential long-term risks.
Experts have said the risks of contracting COVID-19 far outweigh any dangers from a vaccine, and Kimmich was urged by German government spokesman Steffen Siebert, among others, to seek answers to his concerns and then maybe “decide in favor of the vaccination.”
After being largely shut out last season, fans have been returning this season under stringent conditions. Most German clubs operate under the so-called 3G rule – spectators must be vaccinated against COVID-19, have recovered from the disease, or have proof of a negative test result.
But some only allow vaccinated or recovered fans to attend games. The same rule doesn’t apply to players.
The DFL said such a requirement could contravene players’ rights and that there are no statutory provisions for employers to obligate their employees to be vaccinated.
“Even for professional groups who work in health-sensitive areas (e.g. in hospitals or in care facilities), an obligation to vaccinate against the coronavirus has so far been expressly denied,” the DFL said.
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Ciarán Fahey, The Associated Press