Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge claims Mesut Özil's calls of racism following his retirement from the Germany national team were "partially fairytales."
Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge claims Mesut Özil's calls of racism following his retirement from the Germany national team were "partially fairytales" that were made up by his representatives.
The 62-year-old has said that he is annoyed about the media storm surrounding Özil following the World Cup, although he did admit that the German Football Association (DFB) handled the matter poorly.
"I think the whole discussion about Mesut Özil is a phantom debate," Rummenigge told TZ. "It has nothing to do with racism. In my view, there is no greater integration factor than football."
Özil first hit the headlines this summer after he, along with international teammate İlkay Gündoğan, were pictured with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The saga surrounding the photo has carried beyond the World Cup, with the Arsenal midfielder deciding to retire from international football after the tournament, citing racial abuse which Rummenigge believes was fabricated by Özil's agent.
"That's a tale told by his representatives, and I'm just annoyed by this," he added, as quoted by ESPN. "Agents these days make so many more statements, give so many interviews. It's partially fairytales."
Özil released a statement in July claiming that he would no longer play for Die Mannschaft following the poor treatment he had received from German football's governing body, claiming it left him not wanting to represent his country any longer.
"The treatment I have received from the DFB and many others makes me no longer want to wear the German national team shirt," Özil said in a statement after the World Cup, as quoted by Sky Sports.
"When high-ranking DFB officials treat me as they did, disrespect my Turkish roots and selfishly turn me into political propaganda, then enough is enough. That is not why I play football, and I will not sit back and do nothing about it. Racism should never, ever be accepted."