Mesut Ozil racism claims makes Germany hosting Euro 2024 'more important' - Oliver Bierhoff
Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff has said that winning a bid to host Euro 2024 will help show that the country is united against racism.
Germany, whose last hosted tournament was the 2006 World Cup, are hoping to see off Turkey on Sept. 27, when the host country will be selected. The vote comes on the back of a tough period for the German national team, following the fallout from Mesut Ozil's decision to quit playing for the national side -- and his accusations of racism from the German FA (DFB).
Bierhoff spoke to the international media in support of Germany's bid on Wednesday, and admitted that mistakes had been made during the World Cup. When it was pointed out that the Ozil case seemed particularly disappointing given the national team's previous image as a hallmark of integration, the former AC Milan forward suggested that this situation makes it even more important that Germany host Euro 2024.
"That's the reason why we have to get the European Championship," he said. "To show the world in 2024 that this country is different.
"If you talk about the whole country, you can never get everything on the right way. But I can say the majority of people in Germany are different and we have to show this. We have to have the courage as athletes but also to demonstrate this in society."
Bierhoff was also asked why many players and coaching staff rejected Ozil's accusations -- and the Germany general manager claimed it was down to misinterpretation.
"Journalists are asking you: 'Are there racist discussions in the team? So that's why we had to deny it," he said. "I can really assure our biggest effort in the team but also in the federation.
"I think we show it in a lot of actions and projects that we work on. In our team it has never existed."