DFB general secretary Friedrich Curtis admits the German football organisation made mistakes with the way they handled Mesut Özil in 2018.

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 04: of Arsenal during a training session at London Colney on September 04, 2020 in St Albans, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
ST ALBANS, ENGLAND: Mesut Özil (L) of Arsenal during a training session at London Colney on September 04, 2020. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

The situation with the DFB all started back in 2018, when Özil made an admittedly ill-advised decision to meet and take photos with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The response was way out of proportion, with criticism leading to alleged racist attacks on the player throughout the World Cup tournament.

Özil became a scapegoat for his country’s terrible performance in the competition. The playmaker spoke out against his treatment and the ‘racism and disrespect’ he experienced, quitting the national team.

In response, other players in the squad publicly played down and belittled Özil’s concerns. It was over a month until even one player spoke out against scapegoating.

DFB general secretary Friedrich Curtis admits they missed their chance to rectify the situation with Özil.

“The DFB made mistakes in dealing with the events surrounding the Özil case,” Curtis said. “A photo became a burning glass for many topics. The moment there were racist allegations, we missed the time to meet with the player.”

It’s all a bit ‘too little, too late’ for the German national team to patch things up in this case. All we can hope for is that they at least learn from their mistakes, and deal with similar situations more carefully in future.