German Football

German FA admits mistakes in Ozil retirement after racism accusations

The Arsenal midfielder decided to leave the German national team after feeling singled out for criticism following their World Cup exit

1:38pm on Monday 28th September 2020
Martin Macdonald

The German Football Association has admitted that mistakes were made with regards to how Mesut Ozil was treated around the time of the 2018 World Cup, with the Arsenal midfielder subsequently retiring from international football following the tournament.

Ahead of the competition in Russia, Ozil, who has Turkish heritage, met with Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan along with Ilkay Gundogan of Manchester City.

This irked several Germany fans who questioned his commitment to Die Mannschaft.

The defending champions had an awful tournament and were dumped out at the group stage, with the situation surrounding Ozil being made into a scapegoat by the German footballing authorities.


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Ozil, feeling victimised, retired from international duty, and accused certain figures within the DFB of racism

“It is with a heavy heart and after much consideration that because of recent events, I will no longer be playing for Germany at international level whilst I have this feeling of racism and disrespect," he said in a released statement two years ago.

“I used to wear the German shirt with such pride and excitement but now I don’t. This decision has been extremely difficult to make because I have always given everything for my team-mates, the coaching staff and the good people of Germany.

“But when high-ranking DFB officials treat me as they did, disrespect my Turkish roots and selfishly turn me into political propaganda, then enough is enough. That is not why I play football, and I will not sit back and do nothing about it. Racism should never, ever be accepted.”

I will no longer be playing for Germany at international level whilst I have this feeling of racism and disrespect.Mesut Ozil

Friedrich Curtis, the DFB general secretary, has now recognised there were errors in judgement made at the time and believes the association should have reached out to Ozil after the racism accusations were made.

“The DFB made mistakes in dealing with the events surrounding the Ozil case," he said at the at the Deutschland-Stiftung Integration.

“A photo became a burning glass for many topics.

“The moment there were racist allegations, we missed the time to meet with the player.”

Ozil remains an Arsenal player for the moment, but with head coach Mikel Arteta saying recently that other players deserve to be in the team in his stead, his time at the club could be coming to an end.

He has previously indicated a desire to stay at the Emirates and fight for his place, however.

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