Verstraete in trouble with Cologne

first_imgBERLIN, Germany (AP):COLOGNE HAS called midfielder Birger Verstraete to account for an interview he gave in which he criticised the club for its handing of three positive cases of the coronavirus.The Bundesliga side said yesterday that Verstraete had given a false impression about training safety measures at the club in an interview Saturday with Belgian TV station VTM. It said it was abiding by the league’s medical advice and that all players would be tested again before training can resume today.In a statement on the club website, Verstraete said, “Instead of giving an interview out of emotion, I should have contacted our doctor and had my questions answered. It was not my intention to blame the responsible authorities or FC Cologne.”Verstraete had told VTM in an interview Saturday that two players and a physiotherapist were confirmed with COVID-19 and that he was finding it hard to focus on football, especially as his girlfriend is at high risk due to a previous heart condition.“I want everyone to be healthy before we play football again,” Verstraete said. VERY CLOSE The players had been training in small groups, but that hadn’t eased Verstraete’s concerns.“We train in two groups and you know that the boys were extremely close to me,” Verstraete told VTM. “The test was done on Thursday around 4 p.m., and before that we had been together constantly from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. We did fitness work together, trained together. Thursday’s test didn’t show that I am positive and that is why there will be another test tomorrow.”The three affected individuals were immediately ordered to self-quarantine for 14 days, but otherwise training was to continue as before.Team doctor Paul Klein defended the club’s handling of the cases on Saturday, saying training with those who tested negative was still possible “due to the hygiene and infection-prevention measures in group training”, as no one had come into prolonged contact with those affected.But Verstraete said the decision not to quarantine the whole squad “is a bit bizarre”.last_img

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