DFB president Reinhard Grindel admits to mistakes over Mesut Ozil

Ruben Hill
July 27, 2018

Arsenal midfielder Ozil, 29, quit the German national team on Sunday amid ongoing controversy over his meeting with Erdogan in May. As DFB president, I do not wish to shy away from this debate.

Germany's midfielder Mesut Ozil reacts at the end of the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup Group F football match between South Korea and Germany at the Kazan Arena in Kazan.

Grindel rejected Ozil's accusations of racism against the DFB but said he regretted the photograph had been misused to justify "racist words" but did not go into any details.

"I say this openly that the personal criticism has affected me", he said.

German football chief Reinhard Grindel rejected the racism charge but admitted he should have defended Ozil after the playmaker was abused for having a photograph taken with Turkey's strongman president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "I decisively reject this - both for me personally and for the association". Looking back, as president I should been unequivocally clear about something that is a given for me as a person and for us all as an association: any form of racial hostility will not be accepted or tolerated under any circumstances.

"That was the case for Jerome Boateng, that is the case for Mesut Ozil, and it is the same for any player at grassroots level [who] has a migrant background".

As a backbencher in 2004 in the Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament, he said that "multiculturalism is in truth a mess".

Grindel said the DFB would use the integration debate stoked by Ozil's departure as an opportunity to redouble its integration efforts.

Grindel's statement didn't address his own future. He won 92 caps for the German national team - including helping the team to win the World Cup in 2014 - but quit the team in acrimonious fashion after accusing members of the DFB and German media of "racism and disrespect".

"We need to use this ongoing debate about integration and how it now resonates in society as an opportunity to further develop our work in this field and to ask ourselves where and how we can add fresh impetus", Grindel wrote.

"Second, as a effect of the disappointing World Cup, there must be a sound analysis, from which the right conclusions are drawn in order to play enthusiastic, successful football again".

He did, however, say the DFB must "develop further" its work on integration and underlined the importance of winning the right to host the 2024 European Championship.

Meanwhile, Grindel has outlined how the DFB can move forward in the wake of the Ozil saga and the World Cup debacle after Germany crashed out following the group stages in Russian Federation.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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