The affair surrounding Mesut Özil has severely shaken the German football. At first glance, there are only losers. How will it now affect Özil and German Football Union’s President Grindel?
The retirement and general statement made by the national player Mesut Ozil is also a turning point for the German Football Union (DFB). The federation which promotes diversity and integration has to face a debate on racism and exclusion just one month after the historic fiasco at the World Cup in Russia. How will things affect the DFB and its president Reinhard Grindel? And what about Mesut Ozil himself? Here are the most important questions regarding Ozil’s case.
How will it affect Grindel’s future?
The 56-year-old head of DFB has faced massive criticism. Özil himself made serious allegations against Grindel, attributing "incompetence and incapacity" to him, and racist tendencies to him and his “helpers”. The accusation of racism was denied by the DFB in a resolute statement on Monday, but this was still no liberation for Grindel, who is under a lot of pressure.
The CDU politician will have to take a stand and refute some Ozil’s allegations, otherwise he is hardly sustainable in his office as head of the DFB. Politicians like Cem Özdemir or Renate Künast (both Greens) are already demanding his resignation. In the DFB environment, it seems to be quiet so far, but Grindel has hardly made a lot of friends there with his crisis management. The hasty contract extension with national coach Joachim Loew until the World Cup 2022 has recently been openly criticized even inside the DFB.
What does it mean for Germany’s bid to host Euro 2024?
The affair over the pictures with the Turkish president Recep Tayip Erdogan comes in an absolutely wrong time for the DFB. Just two months before the Euro 2014 host country will be named on 27 September in Nyon, the environment could hardly be more devastating after the early World Cup exit and racist allegations by a national player. The enormous accusations against the DFB management could even cost Germany the tournament, which they repeatedly call a “lighthouse project”.
Is Ozil’s retirement from the national team final?
A return to the Germany team can be ruled out after this outbreak. However, the 29-year-old left a back door open with his statement, as he wrote: "It is with a heavy heart and after much consideration that because of recent events, I will no longer be playing for Germany at international level whilst I have this feeling of racism and disrespect." However, the DFB did not respond.
Where was “Die Mannschaft” after Ozil’s brute resignation?
In any case, they did not stand behind the retired teammate. Individual players like Jérôme Boateng, Julian Draxler and Antonio Rüdiger commented on social media and thanked Özil for his achievements and the years together in the German dress. No one spoke up about the sensitive topic of racism and Özil's massive accusations against the country, its people, his critics and sponsors. Not the captain Manuel Neuer, not even such key figures as Mats Hummels, Thomas Müller and Toni Kroos.
Instead, on Monday and Tuesday congratulations to the best Bavarian team of the century (Bayern Munich), holiday pictures and promotional videos were twittered to the world. Not only the DFB, but also “Die Mannschaft” did not look good in the Ozil’s case. The fact that the players had to answer questions for their silent teammate for weeks during the World Cup was certainly not helpful.
Can Ozil play for Turkey in future?
No, that is impossible. The FIFA Statutes make it clear that a football professional may only play for one national team. Özil, who was born in Gelsenkirchen, has already made his decision in 2009.
What does the retirement mean for Ozil’s football career?
No one will take the 2014 world champion title and a very successful career in the German team from Ozil, but in the end, it is his stormy departure that will get stuck in people’s heads. The playmaker will turn 30 this year, and he has a contract with Arsenal until 2021. In contrast to the national team, Ozil has not won a big trophy on a club level yet.
How with the national coach Loew compensate for this loss?
One to one, that will be impossible. Özil shaped the game in the Löw era like no other. The playmaker scored 23 goals and made 40 assists in his 92 matches for Germany, his lack of body language was often replaced by his genius as a footballer. With the established Marco Reus and Julian Draxler as well as the up-and-coming Julian Brandt and Leroy Sané, Löw has some options in the offensive area. After the World Cup early exit, the national coach is anyway longing for more flexibility in the attack.