Bizarre scene at the desert World Cup: In the stands, spectators hold up pictures of former DFB offensive man Mesut Özil during the Germany game against Spain. A Qatari broadcaster is now providing what the message behind it is supposed to be.

The Qatari soccer broadcasting group Al-Kass rated the spectator campaign with pictures of Mesut Özil at the German national team’s game against Spain as a gesture against “Western double standards”. Al-Kass published the relevant images of the action on Twitter.

Spectators held up the Özil photos and drawings in the Al-Bait stadium on Sunday evening, some also covered their mouths with their hands – the professionals of the DFB selection had shown 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 captain’s armband is intended to be a symbol of diversity and freedom of expression. Especially in Qatar itself, this gesture by the national players was also criticized. The exact background of the apparently coordinated action by the viewers on Sunday evening remains unclear.

The 34-year-old ex-world champion Özil resigned from the national team after the preliminary round at the 2018 World Cup. Before the finals, his photo with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan caused a stir. After his resignation, he himself accused the DFB of racism, among other things, and broke with the association.

At the end of 2019, Özil had criticized the suppression of the Uyghurs in China. His club at the time, Arsenal FC, immediately distanced themselves from Özil’s statements, probably also due to economic interests in China. Human rights activists praised Özil for his words.