KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Mesut Ozil has stormed out on the German national team, announcing his decision in an astonishing attack on DFB president Grindel in a statement whose words and significance will reach far beyond sport and into the national political arena.

The 29-year-old explained his decision in a length statement in English in which he accused Grindel, a member of the governing councils of both world federation FIFA and European governing body UEFA, had made him a “scapegoat for his incompetence and inability to do his job properly.”

Mesut Ozil: Angry at being a World Cup scapegoat

Arsenal midfielder Ozil, currently in Singapore with his club, became the focus of controversy before the World Cup when he and Manchester City Ilkay Gundogan were pictured presenting shirts to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.

Erdogan was approaching national elections in Turkey and was in Germany rallying support among the expatriate community.

The photographs raised a storm which  was seized on by the right-wing politicians. The issue returned to centre stage with a vengeance after Germany’s failure at the World Cup in Russia when the reigning champions were eliminated in the first round.

Euro vote

A further complicating factor is that European federation UEFA votes on September 27 between bids from Germany and Turkey to host Euro 2024.

Ozil, who scored 23 goals in 92 internationals, has now accused Grindel of treating him and his views in a “patronising” manner and being interested only in his own political agenda.

Grindel was a member of the Bundesliga from 2000 until 2016 as a leading member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU party.

Ozil said: “The past few weeks have given me time to reflect and reflect on what happened, and as a result, I want to share my thoughts and feelings about what has happened.”

He added:  “Arguably the issue that has frustrated me the most over the past couple of months has been the mistreatment from the DFB and in particular the DFB president Reinhard Grindel. After my picture with President Erdogan I swas asked by [coach] Joachim Lowe to cut short my holiday and give a joint statement to end all the talk and set the record straight.

“Whilst I attempted to explain to Grindel my heritage, ancestry and therefore reasoning behind the photo, he was far more interested in speaking about his own political views and belittling my opinion. Whilst his actions were patronising, we came to agree that the best thing to do was concentrate on football and the upcoming World Cup.

“During this time I also met with the President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Unlike Grindel, President Steinmeier was professional and actually was interested in what I had to say about my family, my heritage and my decisions.

“The meeting was only between myself, Ilkay,  President Seinmeier with Grindel being upset that he wasn’t allowed inside to boost his own political agenda.

‘No scapegoat’

“Since the end of the World Cup Grindel has come under much pressure regarding his decisions before the tournament and rightly so.

“Recently he has publicly said I should once again explain my actions and puts me at fault for the poor team results in Russia, despite telling me it was over in Berlin.

“I will no longer stand for being a scapegoat for his incompetence and inability to do his job properly.

“In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters I am German when we win but I am an immigrant when we lose. This despite paying taxes in Germany, donating facilities to German schools and winning the World Cup with Germany in 2014, I am still not accepted into society. I am treated as being different.

“My friend Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose are never refereed to as German-Polish so why am I German-Turkish?”

As for the circumstances of the picture, Ozil said: “I am aware that the picture has aroused great interest in the German media. For me it had nothing to do with politics or elections – it was a question of respect for the highest office in my family’s country.”

Ozil also complained that German national team sponsor Mercedes removed him from its promotional campaign and added: “With a heavy heart and after much deliberation I will not play for Germany after the recent events, as long as I feel this sense of racism and disrespect. ”

Germany first post-World Cup internationals are on September 6 against world champions France and on September 9 against Peru.

Low is due to announce his squad on August 29.

Statement from DFB president Reinhard Grindel:

Football has a high sociopolitical significance. The discussions in recent days underline that. Mesut Özil’s decision to step down from the Germany national team has triggered a debate about racism in general and about football’s capabilities for integration in particular. As DFB president, I do not wish to shy away from this debate.

Our performance at the World Cup called many things into question. I of course ask myself what I could have done better during that time. I won’t pretend that this personal criticism hasn’t affected me, but I feel even more sorry for my colleagues, the many volunteers at grassroots level and the staff at the DFB, who have been linked with racism. It’s something I firmly reject for both the association and myself personally.

The DFB’s values are also my own; diversity, solidarity, anti-discrimination and integration are all values and beliefs that are close to my heart. During my time at the DFB, I have been able to experience just how much football can do for integration, and I am very proud of the efforts the DFB, the regional associations and each and every club puts in.

We live our values. That is why we, as the DFB, questioned the photo with Turkish president Erdogan. I very much regret that this has been misused for racist slogans. Looking back, as president I should been unequivocally clear about something that is a given for me as a person and for us all as an association: any form of racial hostility will not be accepted or tolerated under any circumstances.

That was the case for Jerome Boateng, that is the case for Mesut Özil, and it is the same for any player at grassroots level that has a migrant background.

In a conference with my colleagues from the regional associations and the presidential board speaking to representatives from the amateur and professional scene, we defined a clear approach for the DFB, which has three central topics.

Firstly, we need to use this ongoing debate about integration and how it currently resonates in society as an opportunity to further develop our work in this field and to ask ourselves where and how we can add fresh impetus. Secondly, following the disappointing World Cup campaign, there needs to be a profound sporting analysis from which we need to draw the right conclusions that will allow us to play exciting, successful football again.

That is a task for the management, and we have given them the necessary time to do it. Thirdly, we all have the common goal of our of EURO 2024 bid being successful. We will work together with complete dedication over the coming weeks and months to make that happen.

The tournament can write a whole new story for football, bringing children into clubs and bringing people closer together, both with and without migrant backgrounds – united by football.