The mouth-to-mouth gesture of the German national soccer team before the World Cup opening game goes around the world. It is not received enthusiastically everywhere, especially in the Arab world there is resistance. And malice. In the stadium, the DFB is now attested double standards because of the Özil case.
The hand in front of the mouth - this symbol of silence and letting the mouth be banned has already shaped the German national soccer team at the World Cup in Qatar, despite the poor sporting start. This gesture was also seen in the DFB team's game against Spain - but not by the team of national coach Hansi Flick. This time, they refrained from any protest actions against the world association FIFA.
This time it was spectators in the stands who covered their mouths - probably as a malice against the DFB. The men, dressed in traditional robes and hats, held up drawings by Mesut Özil. Despite the slow ebbing of his career, the soccer professional is still honored as a real star in the Islamic world. The ex-national player resigned from the team with a bang in the summer of 2018 - after the disastrous World Cup in Russia - and had denounced, among other things, that the DFB had been silent about racism against him. This was preceded by a photo of him and his national player colleague İlkay Gündoğan with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which had been widely criticized. Özil Erdogan also gave a jersey with the inscription "For my President".
Immediately after the mouth-to-mouth statement on Wednesday evening, there was a lot of malice for the DFB, especially in the Arab world. The bankruptcy against Japan was received with jubilation, almost as a punishment for the previous protest. Because the gesture of silence was not only directed against FIFA's ban on wearing the "One Love" bandage, but also against other religions and values. Like in the host country Qatar. "German football when Özil talked about racism against him," a Twitter user signed the starting eleven picture with his hands in front of his mouth - just as it had apparently been rated by the spectators in the stadium.
When he resigned, Özil did not attack any players or coaches for looking away from racism or even participating. Today's Basaksehir player wrote at the time: "In the eyes of Grindel (former DFB President, editor's note) and his helpers, I'm German if we win and an immigrant if we lose..." Referring to Grindel, he also wrote: "People with a racially discriminatory background should no longer be allowed to work in the largest football association in the world, which has many players from different families."
Against this background, the Germans' statement of silence was turned into absurdity by some and reinterpreted for their own purposes. The DFB is now accused of double standards. Others took it as the sign it should be: a protest against FIFA and their bans.
Remarkable: The Özil pictures were not confiscated by the security. The banners at the Iran-Wales game were completely different, with the slogan "Woman, Life, Freedom" on them, or flags of the old regime. In addition, there was the much-criticized rainbow ban in the stadiums, at least on the first match days. The protest against the DFB was apparently accepted. One thing is clear: the fronts have hardened.
(This article was first published on Sunday, November 27, 2022.)