German football association rejects Özil’s racism claims

A war of words has broken out as the German Football Association (DFB) rejected claims of racism made by Mezut Özil against their president Reinhard Grindel in his resignation letter.

German football association rejects Özil's racism claims
DFB President Reinhard Grindel gives a press conference during the World Cup 2018. Picture: DPA

“We reject the notion that the DFB is associated with racism,” the association said in a statement released on Monday.

“The DFB stands for diversity, from the representatives at the top to the boundless, day-to-day dedication of people at the base.”

Özil announced his retirement from international duty in a statement on Sunday, which accused Grindel of racism, when he broke his silence over his controversial meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May.

“In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose,” wrote Özil, who assisted the German team in its 2014 World Cup victory, and who accused Grindel of failing to side with him against his critics.

The German FA said they regretted Özil's decision to quit international football, but firmly rejected his accusations against Grindel.

“The DFB is very grateful to Mesut Özil for his outstanding performance in the jersey of the German national teams,” continued the statement.

“It is regrettable that Mesut Özil felt that he had not been sufficiently protected as a target of racist slogans.

“But it was important that Mesut Özil, like Ilkay Gündogan before him, gives answers to the photo (with Erdogan).

“In the DFB, we win and lose together, as a team.

“The DFB would have been happy if Mesut Özil had wanted to remain part of the team on this shared basis. He decided otherwise.”

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