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Sports star’s vaccine hesitancy troubles experts



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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World Athletics bans transgender women in female category events



Any transgender athlete, who has gone through male puberty, won’t be allowed to compete in female world ranking competitions

World Athletics has banned transgender women from competing in the female category at international events.

Any transgender athlete, who has gone through male puberty, won’t be allowed to compete in female world ranking competitions.

The governing body’s President says the decision was guided by the principle to protect the female category.

“Decisions are always difficult when they involve conflicting needs and rights between different groups, but we continue to take the view that we must maintain fairness for female athletes above all other considerations,” said Lord Coe.

“We will be guided in this by the science around physical performance and male advantage which will inevitably develop over the coming years.

“As more evidence becomes available, we will review our position, but we believe the integrity of the female category in athletics is paramount.”

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Goalkeeper Leandro Requena scores longest range goal of all-time



The ball travelled 101 metres, if it is ratified by Guinness World Records

Argentine goalkeeper Leandro Requena has scored one of the longest-range goals of all-time.

With his Cobresal team leading 2-0 in the 77th minute against Colo-Colo in the Chilean football league, Requena took a goal kick.

Colo-Colo goalkeeper Brayan Cortes was well outside of his penalty area, and the ball bounced over his head and towards goal.

Cortes stumbled as he tried in vain to chase the ball as it crossed the line.

If the goal is ratified by Guinness World Records, it would break the record for the longest range goal in history.

The current record is 96.01 metres, set by Tom King in 2021 during a match between Newport County and Cheltenham Town in England’s fourth tier.

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Gary Lineker returns to ‘Match of the Day’ duties



Alan Shearer welcomed his co-host, describing it as a “really difficult situation”

Football commentator Gary Lineker is back at the BBC following last week’s controversy surrounding his views on the U.K. government’s asylum policy.

Welcoming Lineker back, fellow host Alan Shearer said it has been a “really difficult situation for everyone concerned.”

Lineker was taken off air following a critical tweet on the government’s asylum policy.

Last Saturday’s Match of the Day was broadcast without presenters or commentary and was only 20 minutes long – with many of Lineker’s BBC Sport colleagues walked out in “solidarity”.

The BBC has since said it will launch an independent review of its social media guidelines, particularly for freelancers like Lineker.

But, in the meantime, he is free to return to hosting duties.

At the start of the BBC’s live coverage of Manchester City v Burnley in the FA Cup on Saturday, Shearer addressed the elephant in the room.

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