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Football World Cup: What is behind the Özil pictures in the Al Bait Stadium?


During the German game against Spain, spectators held up photos of former international Mesut Özil and imitated the mouth-to-mouth gesture of the DFB selection. It is unclear who the protesters were.

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Mesut Özil's likeness could be seen in the stands during the World Cup match against Spain


Matthew Schrader/AP

At the World Cup match between Germany and Spain, spectators held up pictures of former international Mesut Özil.

Some versions of the posters show Özil winking, others show him in a DFB jersey.

In addition, some people covered their mouths in Qatar's Al Bait Stadium.

The professionals of the DFB selection showed this much-noticed gesture before their first group game against Japan.

The national players had expressed their protest against the ban on the "One Love" captain's armband by the world association Fifa.

The gesture adapted by the spectators is clearly recognizable as a protest against the DFB.

The other backgrounds are not so clear.

The images, of various sizes, appear to be part of a concerted action - the number and quality alone suggest this.

The "Bild" newspaper quoted a visitor to the stadium as saying that the posters were already on the seats when he arrived.

Then the instruction came as to what to do with it.

According to "Bild", the man is said to be a worker from Bangladesh, the instructions came from a Qatari.

This cannot currently be verified.

It can be seen from the photos from the stadium that there were people in different outfits who did not necessarily belong to a closed group.

According to information from the dpa news agency, the world football association Fifa did not initially deal with the pictures.

What the Özil pictures could mean

The Qatari soccer broadcasting group Al-Kass has interpreted the action as a gesture against "Western double standards".

Al-Kass published the relevant images of the action on Twitter.

One explanation is that viewers in Qatar criticized the DFB for having made mistakes when it came to freedom of expression.

After the preliminary round at the 2018 World Cup, Özil resigned noisily from the national team and accused the DFB of racism, among other things.

The starting point was the photos of Özil and İlkay Gündoğan with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Another classification is based on the fact that Özil was criticized at the end of 2019 for making critical comments about the oppression of the Uyghurs in China.

At the time, however, it was not the DFB that was responsible, but Özil's former club, FC Arsenal, which had immediately distanced itself from Özil's statements, probably also due to economic interests in China.

The accusation of double standards

Human rights activists expressly praised Özil for his words.

In this context, the spectator gesture in Qatar can be read in such a way that Özil was forbidden to speak at the time.

It is also conceivable that the Özil pictures in Qatar are just a symptom of a feeling that prevails in the Arab world: that Qatar is also being criticized so harshly as the organizer because it is a Muslim country and that there are pronounced double standards in dealing with gives to the emirate.

Shortly before the start of the World Cup, Qatar's head of state, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, also put forward this theory, who spoke of an "unprecedented campaign".


Source: spiegel

All sports articles on 2022-11-28

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