The head of the German Football Federation (DFB) has responded to accusations of racism made by Mesut Ozil before he decided to retire from international football.
Reinhard Grindel conceded he had made mistakes in the way he handled the controversy caused by Mesut Ozil’s photo with President Erdogan of Turkey, but rejected accusations of racism and discrimination made by the 29-year-old German footballer on Thursday.
Ozil attacked Grindel, the federation and the press less than a month after Germany’s elimination in the World Cup. The Arsenal player (who is of Turkish origin) said the German Federation chief was incompetent: "in the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose."
As reported by AP, Grindel responded - for the first time – by saying that he regrets that the federation’s criticism of the photo “was abused for racist slogans.” The 56-year-old former lawmaker refused to be associated with racism, writing: "I reject this emphatically, for the federation and for myself personally." And he added, “every form of racist hostility is intolerable and unacceptable.”
It is worth noting that no one has resigned from the German federation after the national team finished bottom of their group in the World Cup, as everyone seems to be working on outbidding Turkey for the rights to host the 2024 European Championship. The tournament host will be revealed by UEFA’s executive committee in September.