DFB president Reinhard Grindel said "in view of the racist attacks, I should have positioned myself more clearly in one or two areas and backed Mesut Ozil".

DFB president Reinhard Grindel meets former German national player Mesut Ozil prior to the DFB Cup Final 2018 between Bayern Muenchen and Eintracht Frankfurt on May 19, 2018 in Berlin, Germany.
DFB president Reinhard Grindel meets former German national player Mesut Ozil prior to the DFB Cup Final 2018 between Bayern Muenchen and Eintracht Frankfurt on May 19, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. (Getty Images)

The president of Germany's football federation says he wishes he had given Mesut Ozil more support against racist attacks following the controversy over the player being photographed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

DFB president Reinhard Grindel, who previously conceded making mistakes in handling the controversy, told on Sunday tabloid Bild am Sonntag that he had not sought to make Ozil the scapegoat for Germany's disappointing first-round exit from the World Cup.

"In view of the racist attacks, I should have positioned myself more clearly in one or two areas and backed Mesut Ozil," Grindel said.

"I should have found clear words. Such attacks are totally unacceptable. I'm sorry that Mesut Ozil felt abandoned by the DFB."

Erdogan meeting

Arsenal midfielder Ozil, 29, announced his shock retirement from international duty last month in the wake of Germany's World Cup debacle.

He complained of facing "racism and disrespect", due to his Turkish roots, and specifically took aim at Grindel in a three-page statement.

After Ozil,  Ilkay Gundogan, who also has Turkish family, met Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May, questions were raised about the pair's loyalty to Germany.

It is this picture taken on Sunday, May 13, 2018, with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in London that brought German midfielder Mesut Ozil, into the spotlight.  The Arsenal midfield has since  announced his retirement from international football.
It is this picture taken on Sunday, May 13, 2018, with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in London that brought German midfielder Mesut Ozil, into the spotlight. The Arsenal midfield has since announced his retirement from international football. (AP)

Gundogan and Ozil, who were both born in Germany, were booed in a pre-World Cup defeat to Austria.

"In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose," Ozil wrote damningly, sparking fierce debate about integration in Germany.

Grindel on Sunday rejected Ozil's accusation that he had made him responsible for the team's failure in Russia, saying it was "not right."

"For me, it is always clear that we win together and we lose together. To make one player responsible for the exit would be absurd," Grindel said.

Grindel also had criticism for team manager Oliver Bierhoff, saying there was too great a distance between the team and its management in Russia, and also suggested the slogan for the team, "Die Mannschaft" (The Team), was "very contrived."

The DFB president ruled out his own resignation, saying he had the league body's full support.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies