BERLIN – The head of Germany's soccer federation has criticized national team players Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan for having their picture taken with Turkey's president.
The Arsenal and Manchester City players posed for photos on Sunday in London with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has taken an increasingly authoritarian stance in recent years.
Reinhard Grindel said on Monday on Twitter that "football and the DFB stand for values that Mr. Erdogan doesn't sufficiently observe. That's why it's not good our national team players allowed themselves to be misused for his election campaign maneuvers."
Grindel said he respected "the special situation of players with a background of migration." Ozil and Gundogan were born in Germany but have family roots in Turkey.
But he added the players "didn't help the DFB's integration work."