UK-Based anti-racism in football organisation, Kick It Out, has rallied firm support for Mesut Ozil who quit the German national team on Sunday citing racist comments and disrespect from some top officials of the country’s football governing body, DFB because of his Turkish roots.
Kick It Out which unflinching with its ‘Let’s Kick Racism Out of Football’ campaign is also appalled by the role of a section of the German media in the disgrace of Ozil.
Arsenal star, Ozil, released a statement on Sunday to announce his international retirement and narrated the discrimination he has received after posing for pictures with Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and even more racist comments directed at him in the aftermath of Germany’s elimination in the group stages of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
“Following Germany’s exit from the World Cup, the racist treatment Mesut Ozil has faced by elements of their media, supporters and wider society is extremely disappointing – but is also reflective of the experience of a number of footballers across Europe from mixed heritage backgrounds,” reads a statement from Kick It Out.
“Immigration has transformed modern life and modern football for the better – the success of Premier League is due to the contribution of footballers from around the world, while the World Cup has been enriched by players of dual heritage such as Ozil.
“However, Ozil is right to suggest that for elements of society, ‘when we win I am German, but I am an immigrant when we lose.’ Unfortunately, black players in England, France and beyond have been treated in a similar fashion for a long time.
“We understand that football is a results business and inevitably there will be criticism of players when a leading nation such as Germany is knocked out of a tournament at an early stage.
“But the singling out of Ozil by parts of the German media, discriminatory comments made by supporters, the lack of support from some sponsors and the alleged treatment by DFB President Richard Grindel, has gone far beyond any reasonable analysis of his performances.
“Footballers must always be wary of their status as role models being exploited for political propaganda, but no player should ever have their loyalty to their country questioned because of a dual heritage. The mere fact that Ozil decided to represent Germany should be enough to demonstrate his commitment, but clearly in some circles that is not enough
“Mesut Ozil has been treated disgracefully and we have contacted Arsenal to offer our support to him at this time. Those who have driven him to consider international retirement should be ashamed of themselves and his case should encourage all of football to reflect on how the game treats footballers from mixed heritage backgrounds.”