Ozil released a statement on Sunday saying he would no longer represent Germany following the abuse he received after having his picture taken with Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the subsequent embarrassment at being knocked out of the World Cup at the group stages.
Leading figures within German football suggested Ozil, and Ilkay Gundogan who is another German from Turkish descent, should not have been allowed to play for their country following the picture. Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness went as far as welcoming Ozil’s decision because he has been “s*** for years”.
Ozil even singled out DFB president Richard Grindel for alleged treatment towards him.
In a lengthy statement, Kick It Out condemned the treatment of Ozil and said it was part of a wider problem, similar to those involving black players in England and France.
They said: “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.
“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.”
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