The German FA have responded to Mesut Ozil retiring from international football

  • Kobe Tong

Mesut Ozil announced on Sunday night that he would be retiring from international football.

The German midfielder uploaded a lengthly statement on his social media explaining the reasons for his retirement, discussing his meeting with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the events of the World Cup.

Ozil expressed his anger and disappointment at alleged racism directed towards him because of his Turkish roots.

The 29-year-old noted during the explanation: "Arguably the issue that has frustrated me the most over the past couple of months has been the mistreatment from the DFB, and in particular the OPE President Reinhard Grindel. 

"As I have said before, criticising and abusing me because of family ancestry is a disgraceful line to cross, and using discrimination as a tool for political propaganda is something that should immediately result In the resignation of those disrespectful individuals."

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Ozil retires from Germany duties

"These people have used my picture with President Erdogan as an opportunity to express their previously hidden racist tendencies, and this is dangerous for society."

Ozil didn't hold anything back in his statement and his words have attracted media attention in the days following, sparking reaction across the board.

And now the German FA - the DFB - themselves have reacted with an official statement.


German FA release statement

They 'emphatically reject' any allegations of racism Ozil, but conceded that they could have done better to protect the player from abuse.

The statement reads: "Diversity is a strength – not only in football – and that is why our integration efforts have a fundamental importance at every level. From the lower leagues all the way to the senior national teams, many footballers with migrant backgrounds are part of the DFB. 

"The pictures with Turkish president Erdogan raised questions for many people in Germany. We self-critically acknowledge that the DFB played a part in that when dealing with this issue. We also regret that Mesut Özil – unlike Jerome Boateng – feels as if he wasn’t given enough protection when made the target of racist slogans.

"However, it was important for Mesut Özil, like Ilkay Gündogan before him, to provide answers for this photo, regardless of the way the World Cup in Russia went. At the DFB, we win and lose together, all of us, as a team.

"For the DFB to have been associated with racism is something we emphatically reject, with regard to our ambassadors, staff members, our clubs and the work of millions of volunteers at grassroots level. 

"We stand for diversity – from the representatives at the very top to the countless people working at grassroots level each and every day.

"The DFB regrets Mesut Özil’s decision to step down from the national team. But it does not affect the association’s determination to continue its successful work on integration."

A full, unabridged version of the statement can be viewed here.

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The German FA have made their stance on the situation very clear and certainly haven't reserved themselves to a generic statement of reply.

Everyone associated with the episode will have to await any response from Ozil going forward.

There is no place for racism or discrimination in the 'beautiful game' or society as a whole and it's a shame that Ozil's glittering international career has met such a conclusion.

Nevertheless, the more racism is spoken about in football and sport in general, the greater the awareness and sooner it can be quashed.

And while the extent of the discrimination faced by Ozil remains to be seen, it is simply unacceptable in every regard.

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