Ozil quits German team citing racism

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil has said that he no longer wants to play for Germany after accusing some German football officials of being racist.



The 29-year old Arsenal star’s decision comes after his loyalty to Germany was called into question over a photo he took with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan shortly before the World Cup.

Ozil claims that he was being singled out and blamed for Germany's early exit from the World Cup, adding that he and his family had received hate mail, threatening phone calls and abusive comments on social media.

Ozil was criticised after taking the photograph with Erdogan and fellow German international Ilkay Gundogan at an event in London.

He and Gundogan are both of Turkish descent.

The photographs were later released by Turkey's governing party in the build-up to elections which Erdogan won.

German politicians went on to question Ozil and Gundogan's loyalty to Germany’s democracy, while national team boss Oliver Bierhoff suggested Ozil should have been dropped.

Ozil posted a statement on Twitter saying that the treatment he had received from the German Football Association (DFB) had made him "no longer want to wear the German national team shirt".

"For me, having a picture with President Erdogan wasn't about politics or elections, it was about me respecting the highest office of my family's country," he said in his statement.

"My job is a football player and not a politician, and our meeting was not an endorsement of any policies.

"The treatment I have received from the DFB (German Football Association) and many others makes me no longer want to wear the German national team shirt.

"I feel unwanted and think what I have achieved since my international debut in 2009 has been forgotten.

"People with racially discriminative backgrounds should not be allowed to work in the largest football federation in the world that has players from dual-heritage families. Attitudes like theirs simply do not reflect the players they supposedly represent."