German football club Mainz on Tuesday said they had suspended player Anwar El Ghazi after the winger made an “unacceptable” comment on the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza on social media. “El Ghazi took a position on the ongoing conflict in the Middle East that was deemed unacceptable,” the Bundesliga club said in a statement. Dutch international El Ghazi made the comments in a “since-deleted” post on social media on Sunday night, Mainz said.
“Prior to making this decision, the club and the player had engaged in an in-depth discussion.”
Mainz said they respected that there were “varying perspectives on the decades-long, complex conflict”.
The club were however “distancing themselves from the content of the social media post”, which did not “align with the values of the club”.
In the statement, Mainz did not indicate how long the suspension could last.
Mainz’s next opponents in the league are Bayern Munich, who have also come under pressure due to comments by one of their players, Noussair Mazraoui, on the war.
In a social media post, the Moroccan international wished victory for the Palestinians in the conflict with Israel.
The remark was “unspeakable”, the Central Council of Jews in Germany said in German daily Augsburger Allgemeine.
“We recognise that he (Mazraoui) subsequently distanced himself from all terrorist organisations. Unfortunately, Mazraoui continues to fail to clearly condemn Hamas’s barbarism,” it said.
Waves of Hamas fighters broke through the heavily fortified border between Gaza and Israel on October 7, killing more than 1,400 people.
Shell-shocked Israel has responded with withering air strikes against targets in Gaza, leaving about 3,000 Gazans dead, according to a recent toll from the health ministry.
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