German soccer body rejects Ozil’s racism accusations

BERLIN (Reuters) – The German Football Association (DFB) on Monday rejected accusations that it was racist after star midfielder Mesut Ozil said on Sunday he would no longer play for the national team because he faced “racism and disrespect” due to his Turkish roots.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – World Cup – Germany Press Conference – Vatutinki CSKA Sports Center, Moscow, Russia – June 13, 2018 DFB President Reinhard Grindel during the press conference REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

“We emphatically reject the DFB being linked to racism,” the DFB said in a statement. “The DFB has been very involved in integration work in Germany for many years.”

Ozil, who plays for English club Arsenal, said DFB President Reinhard Grindel had blamed him for Germany’s poor performance at this year’s World Cup, considering him a German when the side won and an immigrant when they lost.

Reporting by Michelle Martin; editing by John Stonestreet