Germany Technical Director Oliver Bierhoff has expressed regret over some of his comments following Mesut Ozil’s retirement from international football, admitting he was partly at fault.
Following a hugely disappointing World Cup campaign in which he was roundly criticised for his performances, Ozil wrote an open letter claiming institutional racism was at play in the German Football Federation, with President Reinhard Grindel given particular focus.
“People with racially discriminative backgrounds should not be allowed to work in the largest football federation in the world that has players from dual‑heritage families. Attitudes like theirs simply do not reflect the players they supposedly represent. In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win but I am an immigrant when we lose”
The criticism for Ozil was increased by ongoing debate over whether his being pictured with Turkish president Recep Erdogan pre-World Cup, and Bierhoff had appeared to suggest this had had an effect on the whole team:
“We did not succeed with Mesut. And in that respect one would have had to consider whether to refrain from playing him.”
However this week, talking to Die Zeit, he expressed regret for the whole situation.
“Things panned out badly and I am very sorry about that. A lot of mistakes were made, including by me, in the end, nobody came out of it looking good.”