Sports

World Cup followers remind Germany of racism in direction of ex-teammate Ozil

Pictures of Mesut Ozil were displayed at the Germany vs Spain match following the German team’s protest over the ban on the ‘One Love’ armband from the World Cup.

Soccer fans in Qatar appear to be responding to the German team’s World Cup protest over the ban on “One Love” armbands by holding up photos of former Germany player Mesut Ozil, who became the target of racist abuse in Germany.

The group of fans at the Spain vs Germany match on Sunday covered their mouths as they held up copies of hand-drawn sketches of Ozil and photos of him in action for Germany.

The coordinated display was apparently in response to the protest gesture by players of the German team last week when they covered their mouths during a pre-match photo to protest FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, crackdown on “One” armbands. Love” at the World Cup. .

By covering their mouths, fans on Sunday appeared to be referencing Germany’s questionable treatment of Ozil, their former player who resigned from the German national team after becoming the target of racist abuse and the scapegoat for Germany’s early elimination from the World Cup in 2018.

Ozil, a German-born descendant of Turkish immigrants, accused the German soccer federation, fans and the media of racism in their treatment of people with Turkish roots.

“I’m German when we win, but I’m an immigrant when we lose,” Ozil said at the time of his departure from the German team.

Ozil was considered one of the best midfielders of his generation and his surprise retirement from the German national team in 2018 caused shock.

Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil in action for Arsenal in 2019 at Anfield, Liverpool, UK [File: Jason Cairnduff/Reuters]

“It is with a heavy heart and after much consideration that due to recent events I will no longer be playing for Germany at international level while having this feeling of racism and disrespect,” he wrote on Twitter at the time.

“I used to wear the German jersey with such pride and enthusiasm, but not now… Racism should never, ever be accepted.”

Ozil also cited statements by German politicians, racist taunts from fans and hate mail as examples of the hostile climate he and his family faced before making their decision.

The abuse began before the 2018 World Cup when Ozil and his Germany teammate Ilkay Gundogan posed for photos with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Gundogan also has a Turkish family background. He was subsequently booed by German supporters during a World Cup warm-up match.

The abuse of Ozil, in particular, increased after the tournament, helped by inflammatory statements by German team manager Oliver Bierhoff and the federation president at the time, Reinhard Grindel.

Grindel later said that he should have given Ozil more support.

After playing Sunday’s match at the Al Bayt Stadium, in which Germany and Spain drew 1-1, Gundogan said he just wanted to focus on football from now on.

“Honestly, my point of view is: now the politics is over,” Gundogan said.

“The country of Qatar is very proud to host the World Cup, also the first Muslim country, and I come from a Muslim family. So the Muslim community is proud. So I think now it’s just about football.”

Spectators Hold Photos Of Former German International Player Mesut Ozil In The Stands And Cover Their Mouths During The World Cup Group E Soccer Match Between Spain And Germany At Al Bayt Stadium In Al Khor, Qatar.
Spectators hold photos of former German international player Mesut Ozil in the stands and cover their mouths during the World Cup Group E soccer match between Spain and Germany at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, on November 27. of 2022. [Matthias Schrader/AP Photo]

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Merry

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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