Bundesliga club Wolfsburg has apologized and sharply criticized its own players for failing to wear mandatory face masks against the coronavirus on the train to their league game at Bayer Leverkusen.
The Volkswagen-backed football club issued a statement Saturday saying the players had “behaved in an intolerable manner” as they traveled by rail to Leverkusen on Friday.
”Several players are also said to have behaved in a disrespectful way towards train staff after being reminded of their obligation to wear face masks,” the club said, referring to a report first carried by public broadcaster WDR.
WDR published a video showing most of the traveling Wolfsburg players were not wearing masks while looking at their phones or conversing. A WDR reporter said some of the players reacted by joking and laughing at repeated requests for them to comply with the mandatory face-mask regulations. An unidentified train attendant told the broadcaster that she found the players’ reaction “disrespectful.”
The club apologized in its statement.
“On behalf of the entire team, VfL Wolfsburg apologizes in no uncertain terms for the unprofessional and inappropriate behavior of its players and in particular to Deutsche Bahn (Germany’s national railway company) staff for their disrespectful conduct, which has never occurred before in this way, is out of tune with their normal behavior, is wholly incompatible with the values of VfL Wolfsburg and will not be tolerated,” Wolfsburg said. “It must not happen again.”
The club said team coach Niko Kovac addressed the players “regarding their misconduct immediately after their arrival at the team hotel on Friday. A detailed review of the incident will take place upon their return from Leverkusen.”
Wolfsburg was to play Leverkusen on Saturday.