DFB boss rekin­dles war of words with Ozil

Global Times - Weekend - - SPORTS -

The pres­i­dent of the Ger­man Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (DFB) on Fri­day rekin­dled his war of words with Me­sut Ozil by crit­i­ciz­ing the Arse­nal mid­fielder for re­fus­ing to meet with Ger­many head coach Joachim Loew this week.

“I think it’s not okay that every at­tempt at com­mu­ni­ca­tion is be­ing re­jected [by Ozil],” Rein­hard Grindel told Ger­man broad­caster ZDF.

Ozil quit in­ter­na­tional duty in July af­ter Ger­many’s dis­as­trous World Cup cam­paign, cit­ing “dis­re­spect and racism” within the DFB and he sin­gled out Grindel.

The DFB boss says in re­cent weeks Loew has “re­ally tried” to com­mu­ni­cate with the mid­fielder “by tele­phone, by SMS and now by his visit to the Arse­nal train­ing ground.”

“I’d like it that there would also be a con­ver­sa­tion af­ter some­one has is­sued very sig­nif­i­cant crit­i­cism in a state­ment,” Grindel added.

On Mon­day, Loew and Ger­many team di­rec­tor Oliver Bier­hoff were turned away from Arse­nal’s train­ing ground in Lon­don af­ter seek­ing to speak to Ozil in a pre-ar­ranged meet­ing with the club’s Ger­many in­ter­na­tion­als.

The failed at­tempt came just be­fore Thurs­day’s an­nounce­ment by UEFA that Ger­many will host the Euro 2024 fi­nals, see­ing off a ri­val bid by Turkey.

A clear-the-air meet­ing be­tween Ozil and Loew, so close to the Euro 2024 de­ci­sion, would have car­ried sig­nif­i­cant weight for Ger­many’s bid af­ter the Arse­nal star’s strong ac­cu­sa­tions of racism, lev­eled at the DFB.

Ozil, who was born in Ger­many to Turk­ish par­ents, was the tar­get of xeno­pho­bic com­ments and sin­gled out for crit­i­cism by an­gry Ger­man fans af­ter the World Cup. Ten­sions are high be­tween Ozil and Grindel since he specif­i­cally at­tacked the DFB boss in a three­part state­ment when he re­tired from in­ter­na­tional duty in July.

“In the eyes of Grindel and his sup­port­ers, I am Ger­man when we win, but I am an im­mi­grant when we lose,” wrote Ozil in his fiery state­ment.

Grindel later ad­mit­ted he should have of­fered the player more sup­port.

“Re­gard­ing the racist at­tacks, I could have taken a clearer po­si­tion at some points and stood by Me­sut Ozil,” Grindel said in Au­gust.

“I should have been clear with my words. Such at­tacks are com­pletely un­ac­cept­able.”

At the cel­e­bra­tion ban­quet on Thurs­day night af­ter Ger­many were awarded the Euro 2024 fi­nals, Grindel re­sumed his ap­peals to Ozil.

“I would be very happy if he would try to speak to Joachim Loew and Oliver Bier­hoff, who were al­ways very close to him,” said the DFB boss.

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