October 31 – German top-flight club Mainz have lifted their suspension of Anwar El Ghazi over a social media comment he posted about the Israel-Hamas conflict, instead giving the player an official warning.
The Dutch winger, who quickly deleted the post that was viewed as anti-semitic and apologised, was initially banned on October 17 and missed two games but Mainz say they have now “opened the door for him to resume his duties”.
The 28-year-old El Ghazi, who previously played for PSV Eindhoven, Aston Villa and Everton, joined Mainz last month. Their stadium is named after founding member Eugen Salomon, a Jewish man who was stripped of his club functions by the Nazis in 1933. Salomon died in the Holocaust in 1942.
Mainz, bottom of the Bundesliga, said El Ghazi’s post “took a position on the conflict in the Middle East in a manner that wasn’t tolerable for the club”.
El Ghazi later clarified his original post, writing on Twitter that he stood “for peace above everything” and calling for “more empathy” as “deepening our knowledge about the history of this conflict is vital”.
In a statement Mainz said: “In several conversations with the club’s board, El Ghazi has distanced himself from his post on his Instagram channel, which he himself deleted after just a few minutes. He regretted the publication of the article and its negative impact, especially for the entire club.
“In this context, El Ghazi also clearly distanced himself from terrorist acts such as those by Hamas, which led to a renewed escalation of violence in the Middle East two weeks ago, to the board. He emphasised his sympathy with the victims of this attack as well as with all victims of this conflict. He made it clear that he did not question Israel’s right to exist.
“The club’s board clearly emphasised to Anwar El Ghazi in the discussions that it requires its employees to commit to the club’s values. This implies a special responsibility towards the State of Israel and the Jewish people, which derives from German history, but also the history
“Against the background of El Ghazi’s commitment and the remorse he has shown, the club’s culture of dealing with mistakes requires that the player be given a chance for rehabilitation. Anwar El Ghazi will therefore return to training and games at 1. FSV Mainz 05 as soon as possible.”
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