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German FA boss rekindles war of words with Ozil

Berlin (AFP) – The president of the German Football Association (DFB) on Friday rekindled his war of words with Mesut Ozil by criticising 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, levelled 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 the Arsenal star specifically attacked the DFB boss in a three-part 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.

“I regret that he felt deserted by the DFB.”

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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