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Sports star’s vaccine hesitancy troubles experts

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German footballer Joshua Kimmich is the latest athlete to express vaccine concerns; his refusal to get the jab is part of a growing problem in the sporting world.

Medical experts have warned of the dangers of vaccine misinformation, after Bayern Munich and Germany national team footballer Joshua Kimmich confirmed he had not received the COVID-19 vaccine over concerns of long-term side-effects.

“I have concerns about the lack of long-term studies,” he told Sky Sport.

Kimmich however confirmed he was not a COVID-19 denier or anti-vaxxer, and was open to receiving the vaccine in the future.

“I am of course aware of my responsibility,” he said.

“There is a very good chance that I will still get vaccinated,”

“It’s simply that I still have some concerns.”

Joshua Kimmich is expected to assume the captaincy role for club and country in coming years.

News of his vaccination status a surprise to many

Kimmich, now 26, has played for his country 64 times, and captained Germany to a 2-1 victory over Romania earlier this month.

He’s been lauded for his leadership and maturity on and off the field, and for his philanthropic efforts during the pandemic. He’s tipped by football experts as a future long-term captain of his club and country.

Along with several of his Bayern teammates, Kimmich last month set up WeKickCorona, an initiative that hopes to support charities and medical facilities in need of assistance in fighting coronavirus.

“That’s not how it works”

German medical experts have been quick to condemn Kimmich’s stance.

Carsten Watzsl, scientific director of the department of immunology at Technical University Dortmund, said it’s a common “misunderstanding” that vaccines could have potential long-term side-effects that appear years after first and second doses.

“Say I let myself get vaccinated and perhaps next year I will have some grave side-effects, that’s not how it works,” he told a German broadcaster.

“The side effects of a vaccine always appear directly after the vaccination, within a few weeks.”

Much like food and medicine, vaccines don’t last long in the body, and immunologists have maintained that the jab performs a “once-off function”, which then degrades in the body over time.

The chair of Germany’s top medical advisory body, Thomas Mertens, said Kimmich was mistaken if he believed there were no designated studies or monitoring programs closely focused on detecting long-term side-effects.

“Joshua Kimmich is certainly a recognised expert on football issues, but not an expert on vaccination,” Mertens added.

Kimmich joins a growing list of vaccine hesitant sportspeople

Vaccinations are not compulsory for English Premier League players, nor those of Germany’s top flight, the Bundesliga, in which Kimmich competes.

But Kimmich’s reputation and role model image on the world football stage means his vaccination status holds much more significance.

World number one tennis player Novak Djokovic is perhaps the most prominent example of a sports star who’s turned down the vaccine.

Last year, Djokovic said he was “opposed to vaccination” before a controversial exhibition tour in Serbia and Croatia. The Serbian tennis star and three other players later tested positive for the virus.

He remains steadfast in his view, and his appearance at next month’s Australian Open is far from certain because of this.

West Bromwich Albion and Ireland national team footballer Callum Robinson (pictured above) has caught Covid twice, yet remains unvaccinated.

“That’s my choice at this moment in time,” he said earlier this month.

“Further down the line I could change my mind and want to do it. I think it’s your personal choice and my choice at this moment in time, I haven’t been vaccinated. I wouldn’t force people to do it, it’s your choice and your body.”

Kimmich’s comments come amid rising vaccine cases in Germany, as well as England, where only 68% of Premier League players have been fully vaccinated.

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Update on Brittney Griner’s Moscow appeal

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A Moscow regional court has officially set an appeal date of October 25 for American basketball star Brittney Griner

Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison in Russia for smuggling drugs into the country, arrested with less than 1 gram of cannabis oil in her luggage at Moscow’s International Airport back in February.

Details about the appeal hearing have not been released,

It is expected Griner’s team will argue she did not know the cannabis oil was illegal in Russia and that she was only carrying a small amount for personal use.

There have also been rumours that the U.S. is negotiating a prisoner swap with Russia, but it is not clear if Griner is part of those negotiations.

The U.S. has not confirmed or denied the rumours.

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Vigil held for the 125 people killed in stadium disaster

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Vigil held for the 125 people killed in Indonesia’s stadium disaster, as the nation mourns

Vigil held for the 125 people have been killed in a crush and riot at a soccer match in Indonesia.

Authorities believe it is one of the world’s worst stadium disasters. Now, the nation stops to mourn the lives that have been lost.

The tragedy unfolded in Malang, in the province of East Java. It followed home side Arema FC loosing 3-2 to Persebaya Surabaya.

East Java police chief Nico Afinta said frustrated Arema supporters invaded the pitch.

Officers responded by firing tear gas in an attempt to control the situation, triggering the crush and cases of suffocation.

Afinta claimed officers had been attacked and cars damaged. He said the crush happened when fans fled for an exit gate.

300 were injured, including 22-year-old Muhammad Rian Dwicahyono who said many friends had lost their lives “because of officers who dehumanized us”.

The head of one of the hospitals in the area treating patients told Metro TV that some of the victims had sustained brain injuries and that the fatalities included a five-year-old child.

On Sunday, Malang residents gathered outside the stadium to lay flowers.

As investigations continue, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has ordered the Football Association of Indonesia to suspend all games in the top league.

World soccer’s governing body FIFA has requested a report on the incident from Indonesia’s PSSI soccer association.

FIFA’s safety regulations say no firearms or “crowd control gas” should be carried or used by stewards or police.

East Java police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether they were aware of such regulations.

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Crypto.com scraps $495m deal with UEFA Champions League

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Cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com has cancelled a five-year sponsorship deal worth $495million with the UEFA Champions League

Major cryptocurrency exchange platform Crypto.com has officially scrapped its deal with the UEFA Champions League.

The in-principle deal would have seen the crypto company take over as the sponsor from Russian state-owned energy company, Gazprom.

Gazprom’s contract was cancelled in March, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Crypto.com scrapped the deal because of regulatory concerns in the U.K, France and Italy.

The crypto exchange has previously been involved in sports advertising over the past year, with sponsorship into Formula One and the naming rights deal for the Staples Centre in Los Angeles.

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