Qatari fans returned to Germany by uploading pictures of Mesut Ozil
Qatari football fans responded to Germany’s protest against the World Cup on Sunday by holding pictures of former Germany international Mesut Ozil covering their mouths during the match against Spain.
One group of fans kept copies of a hand-drawn drawing of Ozil, while others showed pictures of him playing for Germany.
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The clearly orchestrated display was apparently in response to the German players’ gesture on Wednesday when they covered their mouths in protest at FIFA’s board crackdown on the “One Love” armband. The gesture was in response to FIFA’s effective cancellation of plans for seven European teams to wear armbands that were seen as a rebuke to host nation Qatar and its human rights record.
Qatari fans appeared to point out on Sunday Germany’s questionable treatment of Ozil, the former player who quit the national team after becoming the target of racist abuse and the scapegoat for Germany’s early exit from the 2018 World Cup.
Ozil, a German-born descendant of Turkish immigrants, has accused the country’s football federation, fans and media of racism in their treatment of people of Turkish descent.
Ozil said at the time: “I am German when we win, but an immigrant when we lose.”
The assault began before the 2018 World Cup when Ozil and his Germany teammate Ilkay Gundogan posed for pictures with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Gündogan also has a Turkish family background. Afterwards, he was jeered by German fans during a World Cup friendly match.
The abuse of Ozil, in particular, increased after the tournament, thanks to the incendiary statements of Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff and the president of the federation at the time, Reinhard Grindel.
Grindel later said he should have given Ozil more support.
After playing in Sunday’s match at Al Bayt Stadium, where Germany and Spain drew 1-1, Gundogan said he just wanted to focus on football from now on.
“Honestly, my point is: now politics is over,” Gundogan said. The State of Qatar is very proud to host the World Cup, and it is also the first Islamic country, and I come from a Muslim family. So the Muslim community is proud. So I think now it’s just about football.”
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