Özil’s resignation triggers a tough integration debate

Dusseldorf Mesut Özil doesn’t want for Germany play. His resignation from the national football team was preceded by a verbal all-round attack on Sunday. On Twitter, he criticized the media, the German Football Association (DFB) and main sponsor Mercedes-Benz for dealing with himself in the past few months. The Gelsenkirchen native did not explicitly name the car maker, but the allegations were clearly addressed to the Daimler brand.

In addition to the sporting goods group Adidas, Mercedes is one of two prominent DFB sponsors who also support Özil financially as a brand. The logo with the star was still emblazoned on Özil’s website on Sunday evening. He accused Mercedes of removing him from an advertising campaign by the national team for the World Cup in Russia. According to a photo with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the footballer was assumed to have political intentions during the election campaign in Turkey.

After the photo was published, it was no longer taken into account for the planned video shoots with Mercedes. For the group, it was “no longer good” to “be seen with me”. It is ironic, Özil continued, that Mercedes no longer wanted him as an advertising face after a German ministry announced that Mercedes products had “illegal and unauthorized software that put customers at risk”.

Özil was alluding to the manipulation of diesel vehicles by German car companies and the recall of thousands of Mercedes vehicles. The DFB applies two standards here, said Özil. Only he was criticized and only a public declaration was required from him, but not from Mercedes.

“We will take a leisurely look at Mesut Özil’s allegations to the media, the DFB and the sponsors, evaluate them and then decide,” wrote a Daimler spokesman on Twitter. The question of whether Özil’s allegations were true was left unanswered.

Mercedes has been a partner of the DFB for 45 years. In 2019, the Volkswagen Group will take on the role of general sponsor, who is at the top of the DFB sponsor hierarchy.

Özil was also bothered by the behavior of two other sponsors. A few days before a joint appearance for a social project at his former school, they would have let him down. “My so-called partners who no longer wanted to work with me at the time,” wrote Özil.

He does not regret the meeting with Erdogan in London, in which DFB teammate Ilkay Gündogan also took part. “Whatever the outcome of the previous election or of the previous election, I would have taken this photo,” wrote Özil.

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