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Anorak | ‘Racists’ force Arsenal star Ozil to quit Germany team

‘Racists’ force Arsenal star Ozil to quit Germany team

by | 23rd, July 2018

In news to hearten online trolls and bigots, Arsenal footballer Mesut Ozil intends to stop playing for Germany. Ozil, part of the German side that won the 2014 World Cup winner, says a combination of online harassment and the asinine behaviour of the German Football Association (DFB) means he “no longer want to wear the German national team shirt”.

 

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The attacks are not all related to Ozil’s performances for Germany, which have been mixed. In May he was criticised after being photographed with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan inLondon. Ozil and Manchester City’s German international Ilkay Gundogan are of Turkish descent. Both were invited to meet Turkey’s authoritarian leader who used photographs of him and the footballers to boost his governing AK Party in the build-up to elections in the country. Well over a million people in Germany with a Turkish background are eligible to vote in the election, which Erdogan won (natch.).

 

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Ozil said he would have been “disrespecting his ancestors’ roots” had he not agreed to be meet Erdogan. Gündoğan, who like Ozil holds German and Turkish passports, presented Erdogan with the signed shirt bearing the legend: “To my president, with my respects.”

The background is relevant:

World Cup winner Özil was awarded an “integration” prize by the Hubert Burda Media group in 2010. That year the president of Germany’s football association (DFB) had complained about politicising football after Merkel made an unscheduled visit to the Germany changing room following a 3-0 win over Turkey. Photographs of the German chancellor were distributed by the government to the press afterwards.

So much for the politics and football. Incidentally, the above segment is taken from the Guardian, the paper in which a writer looked at the England World Cup team and opined: “If this team represents anyone, it’s the 48 per cent of Remainers.” This is because the England squad for Russia featured “11 players of colour”. That’s good thing, you see, because in the eyes of the knowing and enlightened being “too white”, an accusation levelled at the Russia team, is a bad thing. You were watching the football; they were studying the ethnic and racial make up of the team. Germany is not so far removed from the UK when it comes to the weak game of identity politics.

DFB chief Reinhard Grindel goes on the record: “The DFB of course respects the special situation for our players with migrant backgrounds, but football and the DFB stands for values that Mr Erdoğan does not sufficiently respect.” So much for not politicising football.

Ozil repsonds on Twitter:

“For me, having a picture with President Erdoğan wasn’t about politics or elections, it was about me respecting the highest office of my family’s country.

“My job is a football player and not a politician, and our meeting was not an endorsement of any policies. The treatment I have received from the DFB and many others makes me no longer want to wear the German national team shirt. I feel unwanted and think what I have achieved since my international debut in 2009 has been forgotten…

“People with racially discriminative backgrounds should not be allowed to work in the largest football federation in the world that has players from dual‑heritage families. Attitudes like theirs simply do not reflect the players they supposedly represent. In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win but I am an immigrant when we lose.

“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. I used to wear the German shirt with such pride and excitement, but now I don’t. I feel unwanted and think that what I have achieved since my international debut in 2009 has been forgotten.

“I am disappointed but not surprised by [Grindel’s] actions,” the 29-year-old added. “But when high-ranking DFB officials disrespect my Turkish roots and selfishly turn me into political propaganda, then enough is enough.”

“The 29-year-old added that he had received abuse online, and claimed he was racially abused by a supporter after the match against Sweden.

“A German fan told me after the game, ‘Özil, fuck off you Turkish shit, piss off you Turkish pig.’ I don’t want to even discuss the hate mail, threatening phone calls and comments on social media that my family and I have received.

“They all represent a Germany of the past, a Germany that I am not proud of. I am confident that many proud Germans who embrace an open society would agree with me.”

Good for him.



Posted: 23rd, July 2018 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, Sports Comment | TrackBack | Permalink