Sunday 22 July 2018

Breaking: Mesut Ozil quits Germany national team, citing racism

Mesut Ozil says he will no longer be playing for Germany after accusing some German FA officials of racism. Ozil was part of the Germany squad at the World Cup in Russia and was fiercely criticised as they crashed out at the group stage.
A photograph he posed for with Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of the tournament led to his loyalty to Joachim Low's side being questioned. Germany team boss Oliver Bierhoff suggested Ozil should have been dropped after his failure to clear up the Erdogan meeting.

Ozil, who is of mixed German and Turkish heritage, defended his actions in a lengthy statement issued through his social media accounts on Sunday, the first time he has publicly addressed the matter, saying he and his family had received hate mail, threatening phone calls and social media abuse.

He said in his statement "For me, having a picture with President Erdogan 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 (German Football Association) 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. 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. The decision has been extremely difficult to make because I have always given everything for my teammates, the coaching staff and the good people of Germany. 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."

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