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HomeUS NewsQatar fans hit back at Germany by recalling Ozil in protest

Qatar fans hit back at Germany by recalling Ozil in protest

AL KHOR, Qatar (AP) – Qatari soccer fans hit back at Germany’s World Cup protest on Sunday by holding up pictures of former German player Mesut Özil while covering their mouths during the game against Spain.

A group of fans held up copies of a hand-drawn sketch of Ozil, while others showed pictures of him in action for Germany.

The clearly coordinated display was apparently in response to the German players’ gesture on Wednesday as they covered their mouths to protest FIFA after the governing body cracked down on the ‘One Love’ armband. The gesture came in response to FIFA’s effective cancellation of plans by seven European teams to wear armbands, which was seen as a berate for host Qatar and its human rights record.

Qatari fans appeared on Sunday to point out Germany’s own questionable handling of Ozil, the 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.

“I’m German when we win, but I’m a migrant when we lose,” Özil said at the time.

The abuse began ahead of the 2018 World Cup, when Özil posed for photos with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and escalated after the tournament, aided by inflammatory statements from German team manager Oliver Bierhoff and then-FA President Reinhard Grindel.

Grindel later said he should have given Özil more support.

Germany and Spain drew 1-1 in the game at Al Bayt Stadium.


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