The European Championship started on Friday.
But for most German football fans, the tournament doesn't start until Tuesday evening (9 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the European Football Championship, on ZDF and on MagentaTV) when Germany competes with Manuel Neuer in the goal in Munich against France and star striker Kylian Mbappé.
A special game for Mathieu Floreani too.
Editor in the economy of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.
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The Frenchman is the chairman of the board of the largest European laboratory group Synlab, which is based in Munich and on behalf of the football association UEFA will carry out the mandatory corona tests for all teams, including supervisors and officials, until the final. “Unfortunately, I don't have the time to visit the stadium. I will follow the European Championship on TV, ”confides Floreani to the FAS. There is no question that he sticks to the Equipe Tricolore.
Synlab was already responsible for the corona tests last season, which were part of UEFA's hygiene concept in the Champions League.
Now the concept stipulates that all players and supervisors are tested once before the tournament - using the PCR method, which detects the genetic makeup of the virus in a smear.
“We also test everyone involved two days before each game.
Anyone who has longer breaks between two games is tested every four days at the latest, ”says Floreani.
In addition, there are tests that individual countries require for the journey to the venues.
Floreani expects a total of around 200 tests per game, making a total of more than 10,000 for 51 games.
"Agreed with UEFA"
When professional football resumed play last spring, one point of criticism that was often raised against it was that the valuable PCR tests should not be wasted on the spectacle. This accusation is now in vain, the capacities have grown so much. According to its own information, Synlab alone carried out eleven million PCR tests last year, and seven million were added in the first quarter of 2021. Floreani promises: “It is more likely that a football game is canceled than that we no longer serve a hospital in one of the participating countries. We and UEFA agreed on that together. "
Synlab has its own laboratories in 25 European countries. However, not in all who are now involved with the EM. These are not just the ten countries where games are played. Nine more are added. Because some teams, for example Croatia and the Czech Republic, move into their EM quarters in their homeland and only travel to the games. Synlab will use the services of other laboratories in Russia, Denmark and Azerbaijan. "We have reliable partners there who work to the highest standards and whose quality we regularly check," affirms Floreani.
For the group, neither the amount nor the agreed pace - all test results should be available within 24 hours - are a challenge. “It's routine for us,” says the CEO. The pandemic has brought good business to laboratory providers like Synlab. The industry leader, the private equity fund forged from a German and a French predecessor company and recently floated on the stock exchange, expects sales of more than 3 billion euros.
Could the European Championship be the last flare-up before the falling number of cases put an end to this special boom? "We reckon that unfortunately many corona tests will still be necessary in the rest of the year," replies Floreani. "On the one hand, to identify dangerous and contagious variants, and on the other hand, to distinguish influenza patients from corona patients as early as possible in the next flu season."