Qatar World Cup. The game between Spain and Germany ended in a positive draw
Qatari fans responded to the German players’ protest against hosting the World Cup in Qatar by carrying pictures of former Germany international Mesut Özil, who had shut his mouth during the German national team’s game against Spain on Sunday night.
A group of fans held up copies of hand-drawn images of Özil, while others showed pictures of him playing for Germany.
This was in response to the position taken by German players on Wednesday as they shut their mouths in protest of the International Football Association’s (FIFA) position against wearing bracelets supporting “homosexuality”.
FIFA banned plans by seven European teams to wear armbands in what was seen as a rebuke to host country Qatar and its human rights record.
On Sunday, Qatari fans appeared to point out Germany’s treatment of Ozil, a former player who left the national team after becoming the target of racial abuse and a scapegoat for Germany’s early exit from the 2018 World Cup.
Özil, a German-born descendant of Turkish immigrants, accused the country’s football association, fans and media of racism in their dealings with people of Turkish descent.
Özil said at the time: “I’m German when we win, but I’m an immigrant when we lose.”
The violations began before the 2018 World Cup when Özil and his colleague in Germany, Ilkay Gündogan, posed for photos with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Gündogan also has a Turkish family background. And then he was smiled at by German fans at a World Cup friendly.
Especially against Özil, the abuse escalated after the tournament due to the harsh statements of the German team manager Oliver Bierhoff and the then association president Reinhard Grindel.
Grindel later said he should have given Özil more support.
After Sunday’s home game, in which Germany and Spain drew 1-1, Gündogan said he only wanted to focus on football from now on.
Gundogan said: “Honestly, my point is: now the politics is over… Qatar is very proud to host the World Cup and it’s also the first Islamic country and I come from a Muslim family. So the Muslim community is proud. So I think it’s all about football now.”
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