German FA chief, Germany general manager urged to quit over Mesut Ozil remarks
The chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, Aiman Mazyek, has told ESPN FC that German FA (DFB) president Reinhard Grindel and Germany general manager Oliver Bierhoff should resign after their statements on Mesut Ozil after the team's shock World Cup elimination.
Arsenal midfielder Ozil was embroiled in controversy ahead of the tournament when he and Germany teammate Ilkay Gundogan, both of Turkish origin, had their picture taken with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
While the DFB said in the buildup to the World Cup that the situation was not a problem, Grindel has since urged Ozil to explain his meeting with Erdogan to fans and Bierhoff suggested the row should have been enough to disqualify Ozil from the team.
"Putting the boot in is punished with a red card in sports," Mazyek said. "Bierhoff and Grindel must step down if they have not learned anything else in their long career than: 'You lose as Ozil' instead of 'You lose as a team.'"
Citing the debate surrounding integration and Muslims living in Germany, Mazyek added: "If this did not have a strong bias right now, both officials -- Grindel and Bierhoff -- would have long been gone following their underwhelming statements."
Meanwhile, former Germany international Kevin Kuranyi accused the DFB of making Ozil the scapegoat for the defending champions' shock group stage exit.
"Ozil made a mistake well ahead of the World Cup," Kuranyi, a citizen of three countries -- Germany, Panama and Brazil -- said at a news conference.
"The Germans put out in public that everything was solved at or even before the World Cup. They claimed the drawer was closed. But after playing a bad World Cup, the drawer is opened again and a scapegoat is pulled out.
"I don't think that's fair. I believe everyone's at fault that it did not work out this time. They should not just blame one or two players."
Armin Laschet, the Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's biggest state, took to Twitter to criticise the DFB.
"To come up with the idea that the defeat against footballing giants South Korea could be down to a photo with Erdogan, that's something only the DFB functionaries can come up with after three weeks of thinking hard," he wrote.
Parts of the German media have hit out at the DFB, with 11 Freunde calling on Bierhoff to resign for not protecting Ozil against criticism from the far right.
Germany defender Jerome Boateng told Die Welt earlier this month that it was not acceptable to single out Ozil for blame.
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.