German soccer game called off after 18 virus cases at club

SANDHAUSEN, Germany (AP) — A German second-division soccer game was postponed Friday after one of the clubs reported 18 new cases of the coronavirus among players and staff.

The outbreak left Sandhausen without enough players for the game against league leader St. Pauli on Sunday to go ahead as scheduled, the German Football League ruled. It hasn’t set a new date.

Sandhausen said late Thursday that players came forward with symptoms similar to a cold at training on Wednesday and subsequently 12 players and six staff members tested positive for the virus. They are all in isolation.

Soccer games in Germany were repeatedly moved or postponed last season because of outbreaks on teams. That’s become a rarity this season after the rollout of the vaccine program to younger age groups.

The positive tests for players come against a backdrop of soaring virus case numbers in Germany. The country reported a record 37,120 new infections on Friday.

Sandhausen didn’t specify how many of the people involved had been vaccinated but team doctor Nikolaus Streich said many cases were without symptoms because of the “very high vaccination status” at the club. The club said it was a strong supporter of vaccine programs.

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